babbler, common name for some members of the large, diversified family Timaliidae, passerine birds found primarily in wooded areas of Asia, Africa, and Australia. Babblers have soft, fluffy plumage and vary in coloring; various species resemble other birds, and five of the seven groups of babblers are named on this basis—the wren babblers, the tit babblers, the laughing thrushes, and the crow tits, or parrotbills. The wren tit, the only American babbler (found W of the Rockies), is believed to be an offshoot of the crow tits. Other groups are called ground babblers, found in Australia; jungle babblers, distributed in the Philippines; and rock fowl, found in W Africa. Babblers are insectivorous and, as their name suggests, are noisy birds. They are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Timaliidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.