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Turdidae - Thrushes

Thrush
Groundscraper Thrush Psophocichla litsitsirupa ©Trevor Hardaker Website

The Turdidae are a family of passerine birds that occurs worldwide commonly called thrushes.

Thrushes are plump, soft-plumaged, small to medium-sized birds, inhabiting wooded areas, and often feed on the ground. The smallest thrush may be the Forest Rock Thrush, at 21g and 14.5cm. The largest thrush is the Blue Whistling Thrush, at 178g and 33cm. The Great Thrush is similar in length, but less heavily built. Most species are grey or brown in colour, often with speckled underparts. They are insectivorous, but most species also eat worms, land snails, and fruit. Many species are permanently resident in warm climates, while others migrate to higher latitudes during summer, often over considerable distances.

Thrushes build cup-shaped nests, sometimes lining them with mud. They lay two to five speckled eggs, sometimes laying two or more clutches per year. Both parents help in raising the young.

The songs of some species, including members of the genera Catharus, Myadestes, Sialia and Turdus, are considered to be among the most beautiful in the avian world.

According to the IOC there are 169 species of Thrushes and allies in the family Turdidae; they are:

Red-tailed Ant Thrush Neocossyphus rufus
White-tailed Ant Thrush Neocossyphus poensis

Fraser's Rufous Thrush Stizorhina fraseri
Finsch's Rufous Thrush Stizorhina finschi

Slaty-backed Thrush Geokichla schistacea
Buru Thrush Geokichla dumasi
Seram Thrush Geokichla joiceyi
Chestnut-capped Thrush Geokichla interpres
Enggano Thrush Geokichla leucolaema
Red-backed Thrush Geokichla erythronota
Red-and-black Thrush Geokichla mendeni
Chestnut-backed Thrush Geokichla dohertyi
Pied Thrush Geokichla wardii
Ashy Thrush Geokichla cinerea
Orange-sided Thrush Geokichla peronii
Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina
Siberian Thrush Geokichla sibirica
Abyssinian Ground Thrush Geokichla piaggiae
Crossley's Ground Thrush Geokichla crossleyi
Orange Ground Thrush Geokichla gurneyi
Oberländer's Ground Thrush Geokichla oberlaenderi
Black-eared Ground Thrush Geokichla camaronensis
Grey Ground Thrush Geokichla princei
Spotted Ground Thrush Geokichla guttata
Spot-winged Thrush Geokichla spiloptera

Geomalia Zoothera heinrichi
Everett's Thrush Zoothera everetti
Sunda Thrush Zoothera andromedae
Alpine Thrush Zoothera mollissima
Sichuan Thrush Zoothera griseiceps
Himalayan Thrush Zoothera salimalii
Long-tailed Thrush Zoothera dixoni
White's Thrush Zoothera aurea
Amami Thrush Zoothera major
Scaly Thrush Zoothera dauma
Bonin Thrush Zoothera terrestris
Nilgiri Thrush Zoothera neilgherriensis
Sri Lanka Thrush Zoothera imbricata
Fawn-breasted Thrush Zoothera machiki
Russet-tailed Thrush Zoothera heinei
Bassian Thrush Zoothera lunulata
Black-backed Thrush Zoothera talaseae
White-bellied Thrush Zoothera margaretae
Guadalcanal Thrush Zoothera turipavae
Long-billed Thrush Zoothera monticola
Dark-sided Thrush Zoothera marginata

Varied Thrush Ixoreus naevius

Aztec Thrush Ridgwayia pinicola

Sulawesi Thrush Cataponera turdoides

Grandala Grandala coelicolor

Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
Western Bluebird Sialia mexicana
Mountain Bluebird Sialia currucoides

Omao Myadestes obscurus
Kamao Myadestes myadestinus
Puaiohi Myadestes palmeri
Olomao Myadestes lanaiensis
Townsend's Solitaire Myadestes townsendi
Brown-backed Solitaire Myadestes occidentalis
Cuban Solitaire Myadestes elisabeth
Rufous-throated Solitaire Myadestes genibarbis
Black-faced Solitaire Myadestes melanops
Varied Solitaire Myadestes coloratus
Andean Solitaire Myadestes ralloides
Slate-colored Solitaire Myadestes unicolor

Rufous-brown Solitaire Cichlopsis leucogenys

Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus gracilirostris
Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus aurantiirostris
Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus fuscater
Russet Nightingale-Thrush Catharus occidentalis
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush Catharus frantzii
Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus mexicanus
Spotted Nightingale-Thrush Catharus dryas
Veery Catharus fuscescens
Grey-cheeked Thrush Catharus minimus
Bicknell's Thrush Catharus bicknelli
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus

Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina

Black Solitaire Entomodestes coracinus
White-eared Solitaire Entomodestes leucotis

Groundscraper Thrush Turdus litsitsirupa
Yellow-legged Thrush Turdus flavipes
Pale-eyed Thrush Turdus leucops
African Thrush Turdus pelios
Bare-eyed Thrush Turdus tephronotus
Kurrichane Thrush Turdus libonyana
Sao Tome Thrush Turdus olivaceofuscus
Principe Thrush Turdus xanthorhynchus
Olive Thrush Turdus olivaceus
Usambara Thrush Turdus roehli
Abyssinian Thrush Turdus abyssinicus
Karoo Thrush Turdus smithi
Somali Thrush Turdus ludoviciae
Taita Thrush Turdus helleri
Yemen Thrush Turdus menachensis
Comoros Thrush Turdus bewsheri
Grey-backed Thrush Turdus hortulorum
Tickell's Thrush Turdus unicolor
Black-breasted Thrush Turdus dissimilis
Japanese Thrush Turdus cardis
White-collared Blackbird Turdus albocinctus
Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus
Grey-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul
Common Blackbird Turdus merula
Chinese Blackbird Turdus mandarinus
Tibetan Blackbird Turdus maximus
Indian Blackbird Turdus simillimus
Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus
Chestnut Thrush Turdus rubrocanus
Kessler's Thrush Turdus kessleri
Grey-sided Thrush Turdus feae
Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus
Pale Thrush Turdus pallidus
Brown-headed Thrush Turdus chrysolaus
Izu Thrush Turdus celaenops
Black-throated Thrush Turdus atrogularis
Red-throated Thrush Turdus ruficollis
Naumann's Thrush Turdus naumanni
Dusky Thrush Turdus eunomus
Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
Redwing Turdus iliacus
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
Chinese Thrush Turdus mupinensis
Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
Great Thrush Turdus fuscater
Chiguanco Thrush Turdus chiguanco
Sooty Thrush Turdus nigrescens
Black Thrush Turdus infuscatus
Glossy-black Thrush Turdus serranus
Andean Slaty Thrush Turdus nigriceps
Eastern Slaty Thrush Turdus subalaris
Plumbeous-backed Thrush Turdus reevei
Black-hooded Thrush Turdus olivater
Maranon Thrush Turdus maranonicus
Chestnut-bellied Thrush Turdus fulviventris
Rufous-bellied Thrush Turdus rufiventris
Austral Thrush Turdus falcklandii
Pale-breasted Thrush Turdus leucomelas
Creamy-bellied Thrush Turdus amaurochalinus
Mountain Thrush Turdus plebejus
Black-billed Thrush Turdus ignobilis
Lawrence's Thrush Turdus lawrencii
Cocoa Thrush Turdus fumigatus
Pale-vented Thrush Turdus obsoletus
Hauxwell's Thrush Turdus hauxwelli
Unicolored Thrush Turdus haplochrous
Clay-colored Thrush Turdus grayi
Spectacled Thrush Turdus nudigenis
Varzea Thrush Turdus sanchezorum
Ecuadorian Thrush Turdus maculirostris
White-eyed Thrush Turdus jamaicensis
White-throated Thrush Turdus assimilis
Dagua Thrush Turdus daguae
White-necked Thrush Turdus albicollis
Rufous-backed Thrush Turdus rufopalliatus
Rufous-collared Thrush Turdus rufitorques
American Robin Turdus migratorius
La Selle Thrush Turdus swalesi
White-chinned Thrush Turdus aurantius
Grand Cayman Thrush Turdus ravidus
Red-legged Thrush Turdus plumbeus
Forest Thrush Turdus lherminieri
Tristan Thrush Turdus eremita

Purple Cochoa Cochoa purpurea
Green Cochoa Cochoa viridis
Sumatran Cochoa Cochoa beccarii
Javan Cochoa Cochoa azurea

Fruithunter Chlamydochaera jefferyi

Family Links

Thrushes Turdidae

Family Account

Thrushes are small to medium-sized songbirds that have ten primaries and a turdine 'thumb' on the syrinx. Many are accomplished songsters, and some have vocalizations that are among the most lovely on earth. It has been difficult to define this family as its boundaries are constantly changing in the ornithological literature. Keith, Urban & Fry's (1992) Birds of Africa said: "We prefer to retain Turdidae as a family until its relationships with sister groups are worked out, while recognizing that this is probably in part an artificial grouping…

Thrushes Turdidae

Family Account

The Thrushes in the family Turdidae is a group of passerine birds which occur mainly but not exclusively in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged small to medium sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. The taxonomic treatment of this large family has varied significantly in recent years. Traditionally it included the small Old World species, like the Nightingale and European Robin in the subfamily Saxicolini, but now often either that group or the whole family is now placed in the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae…

Thrushes Turdidae

IBC Family Account

IBC family account

Thrushes Turdidae

HBW Family Account

HBW family account

Species Links

American Robin Turdus migratorius

Species Account

The American robin (Turdus migratorius) is a migratory songbird of the thrush family. It is named after the European robin because of its reddish-orange breast, though the two species are not closely related, with the European robin belonging to the Old World flycatcher family.

American Robin Turdus migratorius

Cornell Species Account

The quintessential early bird, American Robins are common sights on lawns across North America, where you often see them tugging earthworms out of the ground.

American Robin Turdus migratorius

BirdLife Species Account

American Robin Turdus migratorius

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: (Turdus) migratorius Linn aeus, 1766, “in America septentrionali” = North America. Has in the past been thought to form a superspecies with T. rufitorques on account of behavioural and vocal similarities, but plumages rather different. Highly distinctive race confinis has been treated as a separate species. Geographical variation in rest of range rather clinal. Proposed race aleucus (from Texas) considered indistinguishable from propinquus. Seven subspecies recognized.

American Robin Turdus migratorius

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Common Blackbird Turdus merula

Species Account

The common blackbird (Turdus merula) is a species of true thrush. It is also called Eurasian blackbird (especially in North America, to distinguish it from the unrelated New World blackbirds).

Common Blackbird Turdus merula

HBW Species Account

Common Blackbird Turdus merula

RSPB Species Account

The males live up to their name but, confusingly, females are brown often with spots and streaks on their breasts

Common Blackbird Turdus merula

Species Account

The Common Blackbird was introduced to Australia at Melbourne in the 1850s. The male is the 'black' bird, with deep orange to yellow bill, a narrow yellow eye-ring and dark legs. The female is a brown bird, with some streaks or mottling, and has a dark bill and legs. Immature birds are similar to the female with lighter underparts.

Common Blackbird Turdus merula

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Groundscraper Thrush Psophocichla litsitsirupa

Species Account

The groundscraper thrush (Psophocichla litsitsirupa) is a passerine bird of southern and eastern Africa belonging to the thrush family, Turdidae. It is the only member of the genus Psophocichla.

Groundscraper Thrush Psophocichla litsitsirupa

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Merula litsitsirupa A. Smith, 1836, between the Orange River and the Tropic of Capricorn, southern Africa. Often placed in genus Turdus, but perhaps more closely related to Zoothera. Races stierlingi and pauciguttata considered of doubtful validity. Four subspecies recognized.

Groundscraper Thrush Psophocichla litsitsirupa

BirdLife Species Account

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 169