Observations on the Streaked Wren Babbler

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Way back on 2nd September 2008, Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS had an encounter with at least three Streaked Wren Babbler (Napothera brevicaudata leucosticte) (above left) feeding together with three or four Grey-Throated Babbler (Stachyris nigriceps davisoni) (above right). The location was half way up the peak of Gunung Brinchang in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia – about 1800 m above sea level.

According to Wells (2007), the Streaked Wren Babbler is supposed to be loners or two or three in a family group. But here, they were part of a mixed foraging party of two species. And they moved together through the undergrowth for some time and occupied the same perches. This has not been reported by Wells (20070 who writes, “…with no definite record of hunting even in the base of understorey vegetation, although a bird in on Benom peak appeared to follow below a mixed foraging party moving through the understorey.”

A more recent encounter on 27th January 2010, along a trail at the edge of the Boh Tea Estate in the same Gunung Brinchang, this time at about 1,600m altitude provided Amar the opportunity to photograph the Streaked Wren Babbler (left). As Amar relates, “…came across a pair of Streaked Wren Babblers foraging in the open. They were about 1-1.15 meters from me in full view. We were equally surprised – the Streaked Wren Babblers and myself. One dived for cover but the other (?male) moved half a meter and then turned to have good looks at me. Despite my camera it continued to watch me and even offered many different “poses”. Was hesitant to take pictures at first in case I frightened it but it was so calm. The only problem with these pictures is that the bird was too close. At times the focus was only on one part of the body. Lots of pictures of a shy bird that we usually only get glimpses of. Was one of those magical moments with nature where we receive grace and all we have to do is open our hearts to let it in.”

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  1. […] solely due to the globe-trotting of homesick British naturalists. It could be worse, though. Wren Babblers are befitting the name as skulking songsters, and while Australian Fairy Wrens may not be true […]

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