Abyssinian Catbirds

The Abyssinian Catbirds / Babblers (Parophasma galinieri) – also known as Juniper Babblers or Ethiopian Catbirds – are songbirds found only in eastern South Africa. Their taxonomy is still undetermined. They could belong to either the flycatcher or babbler families of birds. However, based on plumage characteristics, their closest relatives appears to be the Bush Blackcaps.

Abyssinian Catbird (Parophasma galinieri)

Distribution / Habitat

The Abyssinian Catbirds occur naturally in the Semien Mountains in northern Ethiopia, as well as in the highlands of western and southern Ethiopia.

They inhabit subtropical or tropical dry thickets and forests.


Their plumage is mostly dull greyish-brown, paler below; with a white forehead and rufous / chestnut colored abdomen and vent (undertail feathers). The eyes are orange-red surrounded by black. The bills and feet are darkish / grey to black.

Diet / Feeding

Their diet consists of various insects.

Calls / Vocalizations / Sounds

Abyssinian Catbirds have a reputation for being the most accomplished songbirds in Africa. Mated pairs are known to sing duets. The male produce long clear ringing sounds; and the females reply with churring or purring notes.

Alternate (Global) Names

Chinese: ?? … Czech: timálie jalovcová, Timálie nížinná … Danish: Etiopisk Timalie … Dutch: Katvogeltimalia … Finnish: Etiopiankissatimali … French: Parophasme de Galinier, Phyllanthe de Galinier, Timalie d’Abyssinie … Italian: Uccello gatto d’Abissinia, Uccello gatto dell’Abissinia … German: Singtimalie, Sing-Timalie … Japanese: nekochimedori, ?????? … Norwegian: Nattergaltimal … Polish: stoczyk bialoczelny, stoczyk bia?oczelny … Russian: ?????? ??????? … Slovak: maciar bielocelý, ma?iar bielo?elý … Spanish: Charlatán Abisinio, Pájaro Gato Etíope … Swedish: Etiopisk timalia

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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