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Black-faced Babbler | Turdoides melanops

The Black-faced Babbler is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Sylviidae bird family group which includes birds such as Leaf-Warblers, Babblers, Warblers.

The description for the Black-faced Babbler (Latin name Turdoides melanops) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Turdoides melanops can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 561 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 810. You will find a picture of the Black-faced Babbler on page 768.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Black-faced Babbler between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Black-faced Babbler has a height of 28 cms and weighs around 75 gms. The head is coloured silver, brown while the bill is coloured black. The Turdoides melanops has a brown coloured throat, black legs and a silver, grey coloured back. The eyes are yellow.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is silver, brown

Eyes are yellow

Bill is black

Legs are black

Throat is brown

Back is silver, grey

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Black-faced Babbler strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foligae.

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

It is also seen in flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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