Sooty-capped Babbler Malacopteron affine


Justification of Red List Category
This species remains widespread and relatively common, but is likely to be declining moderately rapidly in many parts of its range as a result of habitat loss. It is therefore considered Near Threatened.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as rare to locally common (del Hoyo et al. 2007).

Trend justification
Declines are likely to have occurred in line with widespread deforestation throughout the range of this species.

Distribution and population

Malacopteron affine is known from the Sundaic lowlands, occurring in peninsular Thailand; Sabah, Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia; Sumatra (including Banyak and Bangka) and Kalimantan, Indonesia, and Brunei, where it is generally common in lowland forests.


This species is found in primary evergreen forests, where it is an edge specialist, occupying naturally-occurring light gaps and riverine areas. It is found in the lowlands and foothills, up to 700 m. It is also recorded from peat-swamp forest, selectively logged forest, tall secondary growth and overgrown plantations.


Rates of forest loss in the Sundaic lowlands have been extremely rapid, owing partly to the escalation of illegal logging and land conversion, with deliberate targeting of all remaining stands of valuable timber including those inside protected areas. Forest fires have also had a damaging effect (particularly in 1997-1998). The magnitude of these threats may be allayed by this species's tolerance of secondary habitats and logged forest.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct repeated surveys within the range to identify population trends and rates of habitat loss. Conduct ecological studies to improve understanding of its precise habitat requirements, tolerance of secondary habitats and response to fragmentation. Improve the management of any protected areas within the species's range that are suffering encroachment. Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected status. Implement measures to reduce the number and severity of forest fires.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Khwaja, N.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Malacopteron affine. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/12/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/12/2022.