Chestnut-faced Babblers (Zosterornis whiteheadi)

The Chestnut-faced Babbler (Zosterornis whiteheadi) is endemic to the island of Luzon in the Philippines. They are generally found in mountain forests, generally above 1000 m (although occasionally down to 100m.

They frequent broadleaf forests, moist mossy forests, pine forest, open forest, scrub and human modified habitats.

Recognized Subspecies:

  • Zosterornis whiteheadi whiteheadi – Nominate Species. Found in northern and central Luzon
  • Zosterornis whiteheadi sorsogonensis – Found in south eastern Luzon


The Chestnut-faced Babbler is a medium-sized babbler, 15 cm in length and weighing between 17-28 g.

The plumage of this species is not sexually dimorphic, that of juveniles has not been described. They have a chestnut face with a grey crown and nape, and an incomplete white eye ring. The wings and tail are olive-brown and the flanks paler olive, tending towards buff-yellow on the breast.

The subspecies Z. w. sorsogonensis is similar, but the crown and nape are edged in black.

Chestnut-faced Babbler (Zosterornis whiteheadi)

Calls / Vocalizations

The call is described as rapid, busy and metallic.

Diet / Feeding

They feed on seeds, fruit, insects (particularly beetles) and spiders.

They forage alone or in pairs or groups of up to 30 birds. They may join mixed-species feeding flocks.

Water is obtained from pitcher plants.

Further Reading

Photo of author

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