Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Bassian Thrush (Zoothera lunulata)


French: Grive à lunules German: Tasmanerddrossel Spanish: Zorzal lunado

Turdus lunulata


, 1801,

Sydney, Australia


Formerly treated as a race of Z. dauma, but differs in tail-tip pattern; wide geographical separation, with intervening related species (Z. heinei, Z. machiki), tends to support species status, but detailed evaluation of evidence needed, and present treatment provisional. Has been though to include Z. heinei as a small race, but the two shown to be sympatric without interbreeding, and songs somewhat different. Isolated race cuneata structurally rather distinct, and speculated as representing a different species. Described race macrorhyncha (from Tasmania) synonymized with nominate. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • Z. l. cuneata (De Vis, 1889) – #RNE Australia (NE Queensland).
  • Z. l. lunulata (Latham, 1801) – SE Australia, Tasmania, and islands in Bass Strait (King I, Flinders I).
  • Z. l. halmaturina (A. G. Campbell, 1906) – SE South Australia in Mt Lofty Range, Telowie Gorge Conservation Park and Wittaburra Forest, and on Kangaroo I.
  • Descriptive notes

    27–29 cm; 90–120 g. Dark olive-brown above, heavily scaled black; throat whitish, rest of underparts whitish, heavily scaled black; bill moderately large,... read more


    Song a series of phrases consisting of 3 far-carrying whistled trills, first and third level,... read more


    Cool damp forests, including rainforest, eucalypt forest and woodland, in areas with closed canopy... read more

    Food and feeding

    Earthworms, insects, molluscs and fallen fruit. In one study, diet estimated to be 95% earthworms (c. 5 cm in length) by volume, the rest... read more


    Jul–Jan. Nest a rounded cup made of bark strips, leaves and grasses, camouflaged externally with green moss, lined with rootlets,... read more


    Resident; post-breeding dispersal, sometimes even reaching inland to C R Murray system in non-... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common. Nominate race has declined near settled areas, such as Melbourne. Race halmaturina nationally red-listed as “Near-threatened”; has... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2019). Bassian Thrush (Zoothera lunulata). 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 9 December 2019).