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tit-babbler

any of a number of birds belonging to the babbler family Timaliidae (order Passeriformes). The 35 to 40 species are small and short-billed, rather like titmice in appearance and behaviour but mostly somewhat larger with proportionately shorter tails. Tit-babblers are chunky birds, 10 to 18 cm (4 to 7 inches) in length, with fluffy plumage, characterized by hairlike feathers on the back. They are not brightly coloured, being black, gray, reddish, or brown, with yellow or white below. They occur chiefly in scrub and wetlands from eastern Asia to the Philippines, with one genus, Neomixis, of uncertain relationships, in Madagascar. The 26 species of Stachyris are sometimes called tree babblers. Most tit-babblers are poor singers, but the red-capped babbler (Timalia pileata), found from Nepal to Java, whistles pleasantly.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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