That day I was returning after some macro shooting, I saw these group of babblers hopping around in the shrubs. I have covered these Yellow-billed Babblers (Turdoides affinis) earlier in three blogs here, here & here. Each time I had opportunity to use different lens and cameras.
These are very familiar birds in Mangalore and Manipal area. But are absent in my native place which is very close to Mangalore. These birds jump and hop so much that it is rarely possible for me to get a clean closeup of them sitting. So when I saw this juvenile Yellow-billed Babbler which was sitting very close to me acting as a sentinel on duty, I started photographing without thinking about the rest of the group. When I reached home and checked photo on larger monitor I realized that it looked very close to the Jungle babbler(Turdoides striata). If it was not for the other adult Yellow-billed Babblers which have paler head and nape as compared to the body color, I would have mistook this for Jungle babbler(Turdoides striata). Thanks to my good friend Shiva Shankar whom I depend for most of my bird identification for clarifying the same.
That day I was carrying my usual macro & tele rig consisting of Canon EOS 5D mark II fitted with Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM & Canon EF 2X II Extender. For the 600mm range I was getting, the bird was quite close. Due to that proximity you can see even at f/8 aperture I was getting the tail of the bird out of focus. Just to highlight the feather detail which is captured by the camera and the lens combination, I have cropped the first picture to almost 50% of the original.
The Yellow-billed Babbler lives in flocks of seven to ten or more. It is a noisy bird, and the presence of a flock may generally be known at some distance by the continual chattering, squeaking and chirping produced by its members. One member often perches high and acts as a sentinel while the remaining members of the flock forage on or close to the ground. They feeds mainly on insects, but also eat fruit, nectar and human food scrap. They do not fly long distances, they usually gain height by moving up a tree or tall shrub.