Thrush  birds 

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Thrush Shortwing

 From the family of Turdidae

Within the family of Thrushes, there are many given very specific common names like Forest, Wood, Rock, Laughing & Song Thrush. In fact the true representative of Thrush is a species under Urdus which has the famous Blackbird among them. Thrushes are small to medium-sized birds, some species are passerine like while many others are plump looking. They have soft-plumage and prefer wooded areas. Though spending most of the time on the ground, generally they feed on small fruit. There are many "kinds" of Thrushes, locally named as "Forest, Wood, Rock, Laughing, Song and Whistling." The largest among them, the Blue Whistling Thrush. In Malaysia we get to see only Rock Thrush and Whistling Thrush apart from the 2 visiting Thrushes.

The Turdidae species spread the seeds of plant species, contributing to the spread of many species and the recovery of ecosystems. Within this group of birds are a few which migrate often over considerable distances. Then they disperse the seeds of many endangered species at new sites helping to eliminate inbreeding and increasing the genetic diversity of plant species

Sunda Whistling Thrush Myophonus glaucinus
Malayan Whistling Thrush Myophonus robinsoni
Blue Whistling Thrush Myophonus caeruleus
Chestnut-capped Thrush Zoothera interpres
Everett's Thrush Zoothera everetti
Orange-headed Thrush Zoothera citrina
Siberian Thrush Zoothera sibirica
Scaly Thrush Zoothera dauma
Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus
Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus
Pale Thrush Turdus pallidus
Blue Rock-Thrush Monticola solitarius
White-throated Rock-Thrush Monticola gularis
Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula
Fruithunter Chlamydochaera jefferyi
Lesser Shortwing Brachypteryx leucophris
White-browed Shortwing Brachypteryx montana

 The Call of the Thrushes is a different whistle, often fuzzy or metal sounding but some do have attractive songs as well. These winter visitors being large and uncommon bird bring a lot of joy to the local birders who will flock to places where they were last spotted. The photographers would be the first people to keep vigil of the birds activities. Hopefully that they would not be overfed and lost the will to return home some years.


Orange-headed Thrush  Zoothera citrina innotata


 Size & diagnostic markings:- The Orange-headed Thrush is 23 cm long. The upper part is bluish-grey while the head and the under part is orange with the head in deeper shade and the bellied brighter.

 Distribution :-  Breeding at the southern foothills of the Himalayas, native in the Indian sub-continent, the Andaman area, South China and the Greater Sundas
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a ground bird hiding in the thickets of lowland forest and that of the sub-montane areas
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- The birds were sighted in Shah Alam park, FRIM and very common in BUkit Tinggi
Record of bird's calls :-    and Videos:-    

Orange-headed Thrush  # 1

Orange-headed Thrush   # 2

Orange-headed Thrush  # 3

Orange-headed Thrush   # 4

Orange-headed Thrush  # 5

Orange-headed Thrush   # 6

Orange-headed Thrush   # 7

Orange-headed Thrush  # 8

Orange-headed Thrush  # 9

Orange-headed Thrush   # 10

Orange-headed Thrush  # 11

Orange-headed Thrush # 12

Orange-headed Thrush  # 16

Orange-headed Thrush   # 17

Orange-headed Thrush   # 18

 My personal jottings on the Orange-headed Thrush :-

The birds is 23 cm long  The bird breeds in North-eastern Pakistan, the India sub-continent , then Andaman and south Greater Sundas. This stay spend the northern winter period in Malaysia as well seen in the sub-montane as well as the lowland forest.

While here, the bird spends most time hidden in the undergrowth. With its bright orange color it is easily detected when the bird breaks cover. Despite of its bright color the bird had no problem in concealing its presence in the area. It has the skills to slowly sneak into an area and then slowly walked into the unknown. Its behavior gave the impression that it is a ground bird. The bird in FRIM was foraging on the ground too, in an open area, obviously felt my presence some distance away. There was no rush in getting away but continued its routine for a while.

So far the most popular site to view the birds would be Bukit Tinggi. In the past there were more than one bird present in the area.

In the lowland area, the birds were seen in open fields in the Agriculture Park and FRIM.

Orange-headed Thrush  Zoothera citrina aurimacula


 The is a sub-species that is usually found around Laos and around the Gulf of Tonkin. There should be some white tip at feathers' end at the center of wing. Then the 2 brown bars besides the eyes.

As can be seen from the pictures, this sub-species moved about from branches to branches. So far not seen walking on the ground.

Orange-headed Thrush  # 1

Orange-headed Thrush   # 2

Orange-headed Thrush  # 3

Orange-headed Thrush   # 4

Orange-headed Thrush  # 5

Orange-headed Thrush   # 6

Orange-headed Thrush   # 7

Orange-headedThrush  # 8

Orange-headedThrush  # 9

Orange-headedThrush   # 10

Orange-headedThrush  # 11

Orange-headed Thrush # 12


Siberian Thrush  Zoothera sibirica


 Size & diagnostic markings:- The Siberian Thrush also at 23 cm appears to be a longish bird. The whole bird is in dark slaty black. Very broad white supercilium and the vent some what white with visible scales on the under tail. [see picture 20]

 Distribution :-  This is a bird from the eastern part of the arctic circle, North-eastern China, Japan and winters in Sumatra
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a mountain bird which means montane climate. Stays in the wooded areas and then comes out and forages in open area.
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- Were seen in Gunong Ulu Kali and Gunong Brinchang but also seen Frasers hills which is a sub-montane environment
Record of bird's calls :-    and Videos:-    male  

female Thrush  # 1

female Thrush   # 2

Siberian Thrush  # 3

Siberian Thrush   # 4

female Thrush  # 5

female Thrush   # 6

female Thrush  # 7

Siberian Thrush   # 8

female Thrush  # 9

female Thrush   # 10

femaleThrush  # 11

Siberian Thrush   # 12

Siberian Thrush  # 16

Siberian Thrush   # 17

Siberian Thrush  # 18

 My personal jottings on the Siberian Thrush :-

The birds is 22 cm long and the bird breeds in eastern arctic area of North-eastern China & Japan then winters in Sumatra and Western Java. It is only during the northern winter period that we get to see the bird in our sub-montane to montane region.

Annually the birds, a pair of them would spend long time at the summit of Ulu Kali. It is not surprising then that we met the bird in Gunong Brinchang and also in Frasers Hills.

 In Frasers Hills, the scene was slightly different as the male, only bird spotted, was up in the tree gathering fresh fruits from the branches. Otherwise most times, the bird should be foraging on the ground.

In Gunong Ulu Kali, the female spent considerable time turn over rubbish at the dumpsite to look for insect. I asked myself the question as to whether the birds were over staying. they were still around in mid-April.


Try looking for a Thrush? near impossible! Thrush is a very secretive bird, preferring dense cover. It nests in trees, laying three or four dull green eggs in a neat cup nest.
Thrush hunt on the ground in wooded areas foraging for fallen berries and insects. It is only during this time, that the bird was accidentally spotted and its whereabouts reported among birders. Then it is possible to stalk the bird remaining absolutely quiet for its coming out of of hiding.