White Browed Babblers

One of my favourite birds is the White Browed Babbler Pomatostomus superciliosus. We often have a family group of five to eight visit our garden here in Murray Bridge, South Australia. They are a dullish brown colour with a white throat and a prominent white eyebrow, hence their name. They are widespread in southern Australia and are often found in dry woodlands, scrubs and mallee areas.

White Browed Babbler

White Browed Babbler

Endearing Calls

Their call is quite distinctive and one of the things I like about them. This morning, while I read the paper, I was aware that they had come close to the house for a visit. Their chattering miaowing calls and whistles are hard to miss. They enjoy hopping around the shrubby bushes in our front and side garden. Sometimes the mulch, bark or leaf litter goes flying in all directions as they search for beetles and other tasty morsels for lunch. Then they will fly up into the mallee trees and search for spiders and other creatures under the bark on the branches.


Over more than twenty years of living here I have never recorded them breeding on our property. I have seen them feeding young but haven’t actually seen them using a nest with chicks in it. On one occasion, however, we did see them building a nest. This was in a bush only a few metres from our front door, so we were able to keep a close eye on their activities. The whole family went into a flurry of activity gathering sticks from all over the garden. Within a few hours they had almost finished the untidy mess of sticks they called home. That night they settled into the nest and nearby branches. Next morning they all flew off and never used the nest again.
For a lovely photo click here.


2 Responses to “White Browed Babblers”

  1. I have quite a number of these birds on my property in Monash SA and I agree that they are my favourite bird too. I Watched them playing with an onion I dropped in my open carport one morning.

  2. Trevor says:

    Hi there Heather,

    Sorry that it has been some time since you commented on this article on my blog. Life does get a little busy!

    The White-browed Babbler is an interesting bird to have around. We really enjoy watching them in our garden too. The incident with the onion is an interesting observation. I wonder if they were playing with it – or testing out if there was anything edible under the skin? They often feed by using a beak to prise bark off a tree branch to look for beetles and spiders.

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