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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Subsectio: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Cladus: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Cladus: Averostra
Cladus: Tetanurae
Cladus: Avetheropoda
Cladus: Coelurosauria
Cladus: Maniraptoromorpha
Cladus: Maniraptoriformes
Cladus: Maniraptora
Cladus: Pennaraptora
Cladus: Eumaniraptora
Cladus: Avialae
Infraclassis: Aves
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Infraordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Muscicapoidea

Familia: Turdidae
Genera: CataponeraCatharusChlamydochaeraCichlopsis – Cochoa – Entomodestes – Geokichla – Grandala – Hylocichla – Ixoreus – MyadestesNeocossyphus – Ridgwayia – Sialia – Stizorhina – TurdusZoothera


Turdidae Rafinesque, 1815

Turdus Linnaeus, 1758

Primary references

Rafinesque, C.S. 1815. Analyse de la nature, ou tableau de l'univers et des corps organisés. Palerme: L'Imprimerie de Jean Barravecchia. 224 pp. BHL Reference page. Original description p.67: as 'Turdinia" BHL


Klicka, J., Voelker, G. & Spellman, G. M. 2005. A molecular phylogenetic analysis of the "true thrushes" (Aves: Turdinae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34: 486–500. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2004.10.001 Full article (PDF)Reference page.
Voelker, G. & Klicka, J. 2008. Systematics of Zoothera thrushes and a synthesis of true thrush molecular relationships. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 49: 377–381. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2008.06.014 Full article (PDF)Reference page.

Vernacular names
беларуская: Драздовыя
Deutsch: Drosseln
English: Thrushes
Nordfriisk: Trooseln
français: Turdinae
Frysk: Lysterfûgels
hrvatski: Drozdovi
íslenska: þrestir, þrastaætt
македонски: Дроздови
ไทย: วงศ์นกเดินดง
Türkçe: Karatavukgiller
中文: 鶇科

The thrushes are a passerine bird family, Turdidae, with a worldwide distribution. The family was once much larger before biologists determined that the former subfamily Saxicolinae, which includes the chats and European robins, are Old World flycatchers. Thrushes are small to medium-sized ground living birds that feed on insects, other invertebrates and fruit. Some unrelated species around the world have been named after thrushes due to their similarity to birds in this family.


Thrushes are plump, soft-plumaged, small to medium-sized birds, inhabiting wooded areas, and often feeding on the ground. The smallest thrush may be the forest rock thrush, at 21 g (0.74 oz) and 14.5 cm (5.7 in). However, the shortwings, which have ambiguous alliances with both thrushes and Old World flycatchers, can be even smaller. The lesser shortwing averages 12 cm (4.7 in). The largest thrush is the Great thrush at 128 to 175 g (4.5 to 6.2 oz) and 28 to 33 cm (11 to 13 in), though the commonly recognized Blue whistling-thrush is an Old world flycatcher.[1] The Amami thrush might, however, grow larger than the Great thrush. 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.[2]

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.[2] In almost all cases, the nest is placed on a branch; the only exceptions are the three species of bluebird, which nest in holes.

Turdidae species spread the seeds of plants, contributing to the dispersal of many species and the recovery of ecosystems.

Plants have limited seed dispersal mobility away from the parent plant and consequently rely upon a variety of dispersal vectors to transport their propagules, including both abiotic and biotic vectors. Seeds can be dispersed away from the parent plant individually or collectively, as well as dispersed in both space and time.

Many bats and birds rely heavily on fruits for their diet, including birds in the families Cotingidae, Columbidae, Trogonidae, Turdidae, and Ramphastidae. While eating fruit, these animals swallow seeds and then later regurgitate them or pass them in their faeces. Such ornithochory has been a major mechanism of seed dispersal across ocean barriers.

Other seeds may stick to the feet or feathers of birds, and in this way may travel long distances. Seeds of grasses, spores of algae, and the eggs of molluscs and other invertebrates commonly establish in remote areas after long journeys of this sort. The Turdidae have a great ecological importance because some populations migrate long distances and disperse the seeds of endangered plant species at new sites, helping to eliminate inbreeding and increasing the genetic diversity of local flora.
File:Tsugumi - chiba area - 2016 2 21.webmPlay media
A Dusky thrush in Tokyo.

The family Turdidae was introduced (as Turdinia) by the French polymath Constantine Samuel Rafinesque in 1815.[3][4] The taxonomic treatment of this large family has varied significantly in recent years. Traditionally, the Turdidae included the small Old World species, like the nightingale and European robin in the subfamily Saxicolinae, but most authorities now place this group in the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae. Molecular phylogenetic analysis has shown that the family Turdidae is a member of the superfamily Muscicapoidea and is sister to the family Muscicapidae. The two families diverged in the Miocene around 17 million years ago.[5]

The family formerly included more species. At the time of the publication of the third edition of Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World in 2003, the genera Myophonus, Alethe, Brachypteryx and Heinrichia were included in Turdidae.[6] Subsequent molecular phylogenetic studies have shown that the species in these four genera are more closely related to species in the family Muscicapidae.[7][8] As a consequence, these four genera are now placed in Muscicapidae.[9][10] In contrast, the genus Cochoa which had previously been placed in Muscicapidae was shown to belong in Turdidae.[7][8]
Redwing, Fieldfare, Ring ouzel

The family contains 174 species which are divided into 18 genera:[9]

Grandala – grandala
Sialia – bluebirds (3 species)
Stizorhina – rufous thrushes (2 species)
Neocossyphus – ant thrushes (2 species)
Pinarornis – boulder chat
Myadestes – solitaires (12 species, including one recently extinct)
Chlamydochaera – fruithunter
Cochoa – cochoas (4 species)
Ixoreus – varied thrush
Ridgwayia – Aztec thrush
Cichlopsis – rufous-brown solitaire
Entomodestes – solitaires (2 species)
Hylocichla – wood thrush
Catharus – typical American thrushes and nightingale-thrushes (13 species)
Zoothera – Asian thrushes (21 species, including one recently extinct)
Geokichla – (21 species)
Turdus – true thrushes (88 species, including one recently extinct)

See list of thrush species for more detail.

Escobar Riomalo, Maria Paula; Gongora, Esteban; Arsitizabal Leost, Sophie (2020-03-04). Schulenberg, Thomas S (ed.). "Great Thrush (Turdus fuscater)". Birds of the World. doi:10.2173/bow.grethr1.01. S2CID 216306066.
Perrins, C. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 186–187. ISBN 1-85391-186-0.
Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel (1815). Analyse de la nature ou, Tableau de l'univers et des corps organisés (in French). Palermo: Self-published. p. 67.
Bock, Walter J. (1994). History and Nomenclature of Avian Family-Group Names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. Vol. Number 222. New York: American Museum of Natural History. pp. 151, 252. hdl:2246/830.
Oliveros, C.H.; et al. (2019). "Earth history and the passerine superradiation". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. 116 (16): 7916–7925. doi:10.1073/pnas.1813206116. PMC 6475423. PMID 30936315.
Dickinson, E.C., ed. (2003). The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World (3rd ed.). London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 978-0-7136-6536-9.
Voelker, G.; Spellman, G.M. (February 2004). "Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA evidence of polyphyly in the avian superfamily Muscicapoidea". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 30 (2): 386–394. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(03)00191-X. PMID 14715230.
Sangster, G.; Alström, P.; Forsmark, E.; Olsson, U. (October 2010). "Multi-locus phylogenetic analysis of Old World chats and flycatchers reveals extensive paraphyly at family, subfamily and genus level (Aves: Muscicapidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 57 (1): 380–392. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.07.008. PMID 20656044.
Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2021). "Thrushes". IOC World Bird List Version 11.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
Dickinson, E.C.; Christidis, L., eds. (2014). The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2, Passerines (4th ed.). Eastbourne, U.K.: Aves Press. ISBN 978-0-9568611-2-2.

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