Turdoides gymnogenys (Bare-cheeked babbler) 

Kaalwangkatlagter [Afrikaans]; Siwerewere (generic term for babbler) [Kwangali]; Naaktwangbabbelaar [Dutch]; Cratérope à joues nues [French]; Nacktohrdroßling [German]; Zaragateiro-de-faces-nuas [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Sylviidae > Genus: Turdoides

Turdoides gymnogenys (Bare-cheeked babbler)  Turdoides gymnogenys (Bare-cheeked babbler) 
Bare-cheeked babblers, Kunene River Lodge, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Near endemic to northern Namibia, as its distribution marginally extends into south-western Angola. It generally prefers undergrowth along dry rivers and streams, as well as open woodland with thickets on boulder-strewn hillsides and plains.

Distribution of Bare-cheeked babbler in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Levaillant's cuckoo.


It mainly eats arthropods such as beetles (Coleoptera), mantids and caterpillars, foraging in groups on the ground in the undergrowth. The groups loud calling while foraging often attracts other bird species, so the group becomes the center of a mixed species foraging flock.


  • Cooperative breeder, living in noisy groups of 2-11, usually 4-6 birds.
  • The nest is a large, loosely built bowl made of herb stems and dry grass, lined with finer plant material. It is typically placed in a multiple fork in the center of a Terminalia or Tamboti (Spirostachys africana) tree. ]
  • It lays 2-3 eggs, which hatch into chicks that are cared for by all group members.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 


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