Formerly treated as conspecific with Z. dixoni. Until very recently considered to consist of three subspecies (nominate, whiteheadi and griseiceps) under the name “Plain-backed Thrush”, but painstaking fieldwork and data analysis#R have revealed three cryptic species: present species (with described form whiteheadi considered undiagnosable), Z. griseiceps and Z. salimalii (the last previously not identified even as a subspecies). Present species shows subtle differences in plumage, bare parts and morphometrics, and strong ones in habitat (open alpine scrub vs forest) and song (short, hurried strophes of mainly rasping, grating, scratchy, cracked notes, very unmusical, with a few squeaky, clearer notes admixed, tempo relatively even, beginning and ending rather abruptly, vs much more musical notes)#R; see Z. griseiceps and Z. salimalii for scores. In addition, non-breeding specimens from Yunnan seemingly divergent genetically (“Yunnan Thrush”), but no morphological or plumage differences from present species#R. Monotypic.
NW, C & E Himalayas (from N Pakistan and N India) E to S China (SE Xizang, NW Yunnan, Sichuan); non-breeding also at lower altitudes and in W Yunnan.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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