Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Near Threatened

Amami Thrush (Zoothera major)


French: Grive d’Amami German: Amamierddrossel Spanish: Zorzal dorado de las Amami

Geocichla major


, 1905,

Amami Island


Taxonomic ranking has varied over past 30 years; treated as subspecies of Z. dauma in HBW when latter also united with Z. aurea, but commonly accorded species rank because of its radically different song from that of geographically adjacent Z. aurea (genetic data#R unsurprisingly lend support for this as the other samples were from Japanese Z. aurea). Vocally much closer to Z. dauma as defined here#R, and possibly conspecific with it; but differs in its clearer (less marked) pale throat (1); plainer overall head pattern with much-reduced dark patch on rear ear-coverts, usually (if not always) with bare pink postocular patch (1); more extensive buff on underparts including central belly (1); possibly reduced white in wing, including on underwing stripe (ns); considerably larger size, with much longer, deeper bill and longer wings (mean bill and wing of 4 males and 5 females respectively 32.7 mm and 163.2 vs 27.2 and 143.2 in 8 male and 6 female dauma; allow 3); somewhat divergent song, with more separated and complex notes (but n=1 for dauma; allow 2). Fuller evidence needed to confirm vocal difference, but species rank provisionally accepted here. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Amami-Oshima, in N Ryukyu Is.

Descriptive notes

29–30·5 cm; one individual 172 g. A large, somewhat yellowish-looking thrush with black scaling above and below; very similar to Z. aurea, but has only 12 (not 14)... read more


Call a thin flat “tsih” (given in flight), whispery “sih” and high thin descending “tseeooo”. An... read more


Occupies damp primary broadleaf evergreen forest with dense undergrowth, preferring old growth... read more

Food and feeding

Insects and fruits reported as taken, although food passed by male to incubating female was 95% earthworms, with consumption rate of 13–14... read more


Season mainly May–Jun, with fledglings observed as early as third week of Apr and fourth week of Jun. One nest described in detail, a broad... read more


None known.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Nansei Shoto EBA. Now confined to Amami I, in N Ryukyu Is, this species... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Sharpe, C.J. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Amami Thrush (Zoothera major). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 January 2020).