Spot-throated Babbler

Being one of the most elusive and overlooked species of babblers in Thailand, the Spot-throated Babbler is rarely photographed or even seen. Despite its dull look, it is one of the most amazing songsters in the mountains of northern Thailand. Here I decided to compile as many photos of this babbler that I have taken so far. All of which were taken only at Doi Angkhang, my most favourite place for birding.

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This was the first photo I’ve ever taken of this babbler and I don’t think I’ll ever get a chance to photograph it like this again. It was taken on May 2005 and I even took this with a digiscope! The bird somehow popped out of the bush and decided to stay on that perch for few seconds but long enough for me to manage this shot before it flew back into the bush. It is the clearest shot I’ve ever got. You can clearly get the impression of the bird; fairly long tail, greyish face with faint spots on whitish throat. It can somehow resemble Streaked Wren Babbler when not clearly seen.

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I got a chance to photograph a pair of them again in spring of 2012. This time with a DSLR which is way more equipped for babblers photography. However, this time the birds were much shyer and I couldn’t get any shot as clear as the previous encounter.

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The brown spots on the throat can be difficult to see at some angles especially when the throat is puffed up while singing.

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Some more shots showing the general impression of the bird. It is classified within the genus Pellorneum along with some other more common species such as Puff-throated and Buff-breasted Babbler, but I think it looks structurally much different from any of them.

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Some more shots of the same bird while singing. You can listen to its amazing song here. It’s really an amazing experience sitting and listening to this dull little bird singing continuously for minutes. As you can hear from the link, the recorder had to stop recording after 1:23 minutes because the bird would go on and on without stopping!

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Some very typical views of this bird. Always staying deep behind the bush.

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The plain greyish face is probably the most striking feature and that’s why some people confused it with the more common Streaked Wren Babbler which also has striking grey face, but with a much more heavily streaked plumage.

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And here’s the photo from my latest encounter in September 2013. The photo above shows a pair of them while resting and preening for each other. A lot of imagination might be needed!

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The last photo from my latest encounter to finish this post. It is actually not as scarce as it may seem but because of its elusive behaviour, most birders in Thailand still haven’t seen it. Hopefully, next time when I go back to Thailand, I will have some more chances to photograph it again.

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