Real World Gardener Chestnut Crowned Babbler in Wildlife in Focus

July 15th, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.


Chestnut Crowned Babbler - An Australian Bird

Did you know that Australian birds are being studied by scientists overseas and the bird on today’s show has been found to be able communicate in a similar way to how humans use language?

Chestnut Crowned Babbler, photo Graeme Chapman

Chestnut Crowned Babblers have a distinct white stripe over their eye.

They also have a curved beak a bit like a honey eater which they use to search for food by probing amongst leaf litter and twigs on the ground. These Babblers are a bit bigger than your average Pee Wee to give you some gauge as to their size.  

So let’s find out I'm talking with  Dr Holly Parsons, Manager of Birds in Backyards. 

Babbler birds were found to combine two sounds (let’s call them sound A and sound B) to generate calls associated with specific behaviours.

In flight, they used an "A-B" call to make their whereabouts known, but when alerting chicks to food they combined the sounds differently to make "B-A-B".

The birds seemed to understand the meaning of the calls.

Chestnut Crowned Babbler photo Trinity News Daily

When the feeding call was played back to them, they looked at nests, while when they heard a flight call they looked at the sky.

How interesting is that?

If you have any questions about Chestnut crowned babblers or have a photo to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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