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Cinclosomatidae – Quail-thrushes and Jewel-babblers

Spotted Jewel-babbler in Indonesia: Photo by “Lisa & Li Li

Cinclosomatidae, found in Australia and New Guinea, comprises ground-dwelling birds known as quail-thrushes and jewel-babblers. These birds inhabit various environments, from dense forests to arid scrublands. They are known for their elusive behavior and cryptic plumage, which help them blend into their surroundings as they forage for insects and seeds on the forest floor.

Overview of Cinclosomatidae

Quail-thrushes move swiftly and quietly through the undergrowth, occasionally popping up in unexpected places to check on human interlopers. While they are most comfortable and adept on the ground, where they build their cup nests, they will also perch on branches to sing. Resembling thrushes in shape and their patterned, earth-toned plumage, quail-thrushes have longer tails, shorter legs, and smaller heads, giving them a sleek, low-to-the-ground appearance. Their songs are high-pitched repeated whistles, sometimes so rapid they resemble trills, often with a strident quality similar to grinding metal or insect calls. The jewel-babblers add swaths of rich deep blue to their plumage, creating a vibrant contrast.