With a worldwide distribution and over 300 species, this is one of the largest passerine families, with many of the finest songsters. General characteristics include a slender, tapered body with a strong, sharp, straight bill, large eyes, sparse rictal bristles (at the base of the bill), longish legs with strong toes, and broad, rounded wings. They share two features with the Old World Flycatchers: spotted juvenile plumage, and the “turdine thumb”, a projection of the syrinx (voice-box). Most thrushes forage on the ground, running and/or hopping for a short distance, then stopping suddenly, as they search for invertebrates in the soil and litter. However many species also take to the trees to harvest berries and other fruit. Nests are solid and cup-shaped, and placed low in a tree or on the ground. In Indonesia, the family is represented by several distinct groups:  true thrushes, whistling thrushes, short wings, robins, chats and forktails. The powerful songs of the thrushes, and their ability to mimic, make them a favourite among songbird hobbyists, and they can be found in cages almost everywhere from Singapore to Bali. Among the most popular pets are the Orange-headed and Chestnut-capped Thrushes Zoothera citrina and Z. interpres, and White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus. Songbird contestants, called kicau-mania, and the keeping and training of these birds, represent a very popular Indonesian pastime, involving some 70,000 hobbyists and contributing over USD$130 million to the economies of the six largest cities in Java and Bali alone (Jepson 1997). On the positive side, the hobby gives birds a prominent place in urban culture, but on the negative side, it creates a demand for wild-caught birds, which are trapped in their tens of thousands.  Of the 19 species of thrush found in Java, four are found in Baluran.


Direct, undulating with shallow wingbeats.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s