Red-throated Thrush (Turdus ruficollis ruficollis)

Red-throated Thrush

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Turdidae | [latin] Turdus ruficollis ruficollis | [UK] Red-throated Thrush | [FR] Grive a gorge rousse | [DE] Bechsteindrossel | [ES] Zorzal papirojo | [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.

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 : Eastcentral


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 an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). 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.

Red-throated Thrush status Least Concern


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

Red-throated Thrush distribution range map

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