Turdoides melanops (Black-faced babbler) 

Swartwangkatlagter [Afrikaans]; Siwerewere (generic term for babbler) [Kwangali]; Letshêganôga [Tswana]; Zwartteugelbabbelaar [Dutch]; Cratérope masqué [French]; Dunkler droßling, Schwarzzügeldroßling [German]; Zaragateiro-de-faces-pretas [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 melanops (Black-faced babbler)  

Black-face babbler, Roy's Camp, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]


Distribution and habitat

Near-endemic to southern Africa, only occurring in northern Botswana, northern and north-eastern Namibia and south-west Angola. It generally prefers undergrowth with thickets and creepers in woodland containing Zambezi teak (Baikiaea plurijuga), corkwood (Commiphora) and Purple pod terminalia (Terminalia pruinoides), especially when there is a high canopy and tall patches of grass.

Distribution of Black-faced 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).


It forages in groups on the ground and in the undergrowth, eating insects, reptiles and fruit.


  • Cooperative breeder, living in groups of 4-7, rarely up to 15 birds.
  • The nest is a bowl built of grass and lined with finer plant material, typically placed in the outer branches of a tree.
  • Egg-laying season is from October-March.
  • It lays 2-3 deep greyish turquoise eggs.


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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