Orange-billed Babbler Turdoides rufescens


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a small range that is declining and becoming increasingly fragmented as a result of human encroachment, although it is not yet regarded as severely fragmented. It remains common, but the situation should be carefully monitored for any future increases in the rate of wet-zone forest loss. It is currently considered Near Threatened.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as common in wet lowlands and rare on adjacent hills (del Hoyo et al. 2007).

Trend justification
Some population declines are likely to be occurring as a result of habitat loss and degradation within the species's range, although the magnitude of these declines is poorly known. Nevertheless, a slow decline is suspected overall.

Distribution and population

Turdoides rufescens is endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is fairly common to common in the wet lowlands, usually rare on adjacent hills but occasionally common above 700 m.


This species appears to be almost restricted to primary forest in some areas (usually where Yellow-billed Babbler T. affinis is present), but is sometimes common in selectively logged or secondary forest, scrub or tea plantations. It is a characteristic component of mixed-species flocks, with up to 45 individuals counted in a group. It is generally found in lowlands, but occurs locally up to 2,100 m.


Forest on Sri Lanka has suffered degradation and fragmentation in recent decades due to excessive gathering of fuelwood, clearance for permanent agriculture, shifting cultivation, fire, urbanisation and logging.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor populations and habitat trends across the range. Conduct ecological studies to determine precise habitat requirements and response to fragmentation. Protect significant areas of forest at key sites, in both strictly protected areas and community-led multiple use areas.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Mahood, S., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Turdoides rufescens. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/05/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/05/2020.