Grey-bellied Wren-Babbler

Grey-bellied Wren-Babbler

#GS-03 Biodiversity Conservation

For Prelims

Grey-bellied Wren-Babbler:

  • The Grey-Bellied Wren-Babbler is a bird species in the family Timaliidae.
  • Scientific Name: Spelaeornis reptatus
  • It was until recently considered a subspecies of the long-tailed wren-babbler.
  • The IUCN, started recognizing it as distinct species in 2008.
  • It is found in China, India (Arunachal Pradesh), Myanmar, and Thailand.
  • The team, comprising of birdwatchers from Bengaluru, Chennai, and Thiruvananthapuram had sighted the new species in March this year at Mugaphi peak in Changlang district.
  • Their finding was published by Indian BIRDS, a peer-reviewed journal of south Asian ornithology.
  • The name indicates the ground colour of the belly of the grey-bellied wren babbler.
  • The birds sighted had a sweet song that was similar to the songs of the Naga wren babbler and quite unlike the trilling song of the grey-bellied wren babbler.
  • There has been only one previous report of this bird from India when two specimens were collected from Mugaphi close to the Myanmar border in 1988.
  • One of these specimens is kept at the Smithsonian Museum in the United States.
  • Mugaphi is 40 km from Vijoynagar, the remotest circle headquarters in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • A 157 km road from nearest town Miao, much of it through the Namdapha Tiger Reserve, is yet to be completed.
  • The team named the bird Lisu wren babbler.
  • IUCN Status: Least Concern

Features of Grey-bellied Wren-Babbler

  • Dark edges to its back and crown feathers give it a scaly-looking quality.
  • Forages on ground and in undergrowth, almost always under heavy cover and rarely emerging into the open.
  • Extremely similar in appearance to Pale-throated, Chin Hills, and Long-tailed wren-babblers, but no range overlap.