Madagascar Yellowbrow Crossleyia xanthophrys


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is thought to have a moderately small population. Its habitat is probably not immediately threatened, but any significant decline or fragmentation of its habitat would suggest a decline in the population and it could qualify it for uplisting to a higher threat category.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as common (del Hoyo et al. 2006).

Distribution and population

Crossleyia xanthophrys, a distinctive babbler in its own genus, is a fairly common resident throughout eastern Madagascar, from Tsaratanana in the north to Andohahela in the south (Morris and Hawkins 1998).


The species inhabits montane rainforest at 800-2,300 m (Hawkins and Sartain 2013). It is mainly terrestrial, foraging for insects in the leaf-litter and among herbs (Langrand 1990, Evans et al. 1992), but will climb in vegetation in evenings to presumably roost (Hawkins and Sartain 2013). It is usually found in pairs, or as family groups in mixed-species flocks with other small insectivores (Langrand 1990, Evans et al. 1992, Morris and Hawkins 1998). It breeds in September-December, with juveniles observed in November-January (del Hoyo et al. 2006). The nest, in which three eggs are laid, is a deep cup of interwoven grasses or bamboo leaves and moss, on a bulky base of leaf litter or in a dense liana tangle (del Hoyo et al. 2006).


The species is potentially threatened by the significant reduction or fragmentation of its habitat (del Hoyo et al. 2006). The activities that it is presumed would drive deforestation and forest modification are the encroachment of small-holder cultivation and livestock farming and both small- and large-scale logging for timber.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in most protected areas within its range and is common in Tsaratanana Strict Nature Reserve, and Marojejy, Mantadia, Ranomafana, Andringitra and Andohahela National Parks (del Hoyo et al. 2006).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to obtain a total population estimate. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor potential threats to the species's habitat. Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected status.


A small terrestrial babbler. Dark olive green above, with a vivid yellow supercilium contrasting with a black eyestripe. Throat and upper belly yellow, bill pale pink with dark culmen. Walks on the ground with a rolling gait, often in areas of dense understorey. Similar spp. Immediately distingushed from Malagasy greenbuls, Crossley's Babbler Mystacornis crossleyi and White-throated Oxylabes Oxylabes madagascariensis by the very obvious yellow supercilium. Hints Limited to the understorey of dense montane forest from about 900 m to the limit of tree cover. Often first detected by the call, a penetrating tsirp, coming from dense understorey vegetation.


Text account compilers
Evans, M., O'Brien, A., Shutes, S., Starkey, M., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Westrip, J.

Hawkins, F.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Crossleyia xanthophrys. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/09/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/09/2020.