Turdoides hartlaubii (Hartlaub's babbler) 

Witkruiskatlagter [Afrikaans]; Siwerewere (generic term for babbler) [Kwangali]; Letshêganôga [Tswana]; Hartlaub-babbelaar [Dutch]; Cratérope de Hartlaub [French]; Weißbürzeldroßling [German]; Zaragateiro-de-rabadilha-branca [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 hartlaubii (Hartlaub's babbler)  Turdoides hartlaubii (Hartlaub's babbler) 
Hartlaub's babblers, Mahango Game Reserve, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]
Turdoides hartlaubii (Hartlaub's babbler) Turdoides hartlaubii (Hartlaub's babbler) 

Hartlaub's babbler. [photo Peter Steyn ©]

Hartlaub's babbler. [photo Peter Steyn ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from south-eastern DRC through Zambia and Angola to southern Africa. Here it is locally common in dense, tall woodland along watercourses, reedbeds and Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) swamps in northern Botswana and northern Namibia (including the Caprivi Strip).

Distribution of Hartlaub's 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.


Its diet is unknown, however it has been observed foraging on the ground in dense vegetation, often along with Arrow-marked babblers.


  • It is a cooperative breeder, living in year-round groups of 5-20, usually 8 birds.
  • The nest is a rather messy bowl built of dry leaves, grass, string and thin roots, lined with finer plant material such as slender twigs. It typically places the nest close to water, such as in a clump of reeds, flood debris attached to a tree or bush, or in a small tree in a swamp or flood plain.
Turdoides hartlaubii (Hartlaub's babbler)   

Hartlaub's babbler nest with chicks, Maun, Botswana. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from October-April.
  • It lays 2-4 glossy, greyish turquoise or deep greenish blue eggs.
  • The chicks are cared for by both parents and helpers, leaving the nest after about 18 days.


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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