Black-throated Thrush (Turdus ruficollis atrogularis)

Black-throated Thrush

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Turdidae | [latin] Turdus ruficollis atrogularis | [UK] Black-throated Thrush | [FR] Grive a gorge rousse | [DE] Bechsteindrossel | [ES] Zorzal Papinegro | [NL] Roodkeel-Zwartkeellijster


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Medium-sized, bulky thrush, with well-balanced form most recalling Eurasian Blackbird but behaviour and plumage pattern somewhat reminiscent Fieldfar.
Head and upperparts pale grey to umber-brown, throat and chest dark, underbody dull white, and underwing rufous-buff. Male of western race artogularis has black chest and black-brown tail, and male of eastern race ruficollis has dull red chest and tail. Females and immatures less contrasting. Sexes dissimilar, some seasonal variation.

Listen to the sound of Black-throated Thrush

[audio: Thrush.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 37 cm wingspan max.: 40 cm
size min.: 24 cm size max.: 25 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 12 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 12 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 6  


Eurasia : nc


breeds in central and marginally in west Palearctic in upper to middle latitudes from lowlands and boreal continental to montane temperate zones, with marked ecological differences between northern race and south-eastern nominate.
Nominate inhabits sparse mountain forests, mossy scrub tundra above them, taiga on plateaux, and bottomland forests by mountain rivers.


Nest site is on low stump, or in tree, close to ground. Nest is a external layer of grass stems and leaves, a thick rim of stalks, thickly plastered with mud, and inner lining of finer grass. 5-6 eggs ae laid, incubation 11-12 days, by female only.

Feeding habits

Invertebrates and berries. Feeds on ground by hopping and pausing, cocking head to one side like Song Thrush but less exaggeratedly than Blackbird, often perches briefly on logs, molehills, etc. Will feed in water of streams, taking aquatic invertebrates.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km2. It has a large global population, including an estimated 10,000-40,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Poorly known, but no apparent changes in range or numbers. Perhaps 1000-10 000 pairs; stable. Both nominate ruficollis and atrogularis recorded vagrant to Britain, France, Germany, Norway, Poland, Italy. T. r. atrogularis: Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Austria, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Rumania, Ukraine, Israel, Egypt.


Migratory, but some stay to winter in Siberia in years with good berry crop. West Siberian race atrogularis migrates through northern Iran, Afghanistan, and Mongolia to winter abundantly all across Indian subcontinent as well as from Arabia and Iraq to Burma and south-west China north to Turkmenistan and Himalayas. East Siberian race, nominate ruficollis, migrates through Mongolia and China west to Sinkiang and Tibet to winter in Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, northern Kashmir to Assam, northern Burma, and China mainly in north and west.
Vagrants in west Palearctic are mostly atrogularis. In Britain and Ireland, most occur late autumn or winter; may be birds which have not moved south of breeding grounds until onset of severe weather.

Distribution map

Black-throated Thrush distribution range map

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