Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Black-billed Thrush (Turdus ignobilis)


French: Merle à bec noir German: Schwarzschnabeldrossel Spanish: Zorzal piquinegro andino

Turdus ignobilis

P. L. Sclater

, 1858,

Nova Grenada [= Bogotá]


Has been treated as conspecific with T. plebejus, but genetic data#R show the two to be only distantly related. Recent molecular study#R revealed T. ignobilis as constituted in HBW to be polyphyletic, necessitating separation of T. debilis and T. arthuri (which see); races ignobilis and goodfellowi, however, were not sampled, so lumping of murinus with these taxa is a conservative assumption based in part on their common use of higher elevations#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. i. ignobilis P. L. Sclater, 1858 – Magdalena Valley and C & E Andes of Colombia and W Venezuela.
  • T. i. goodfellowi E. J. O. Hartert & Hellmayr, 1901 – W slope of W Andes and Cauca Valley, W Colombia.
  • T. i. murinus Salvin, 1885 – tepuis of S Venezuela, W Guyana (Roraima, Merume Mts)#R and N Brazil (Roraima National Park)#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    21·5–24 cm; 52–81 g. Nominate race is olive-brown above, paler below, with slightly darker face, brown-streaked off-white throat, whitish mid-belly to vent... read more


    Song a typical Turdus series of phrases, but subdued and uninspired, with close... read more


    Clearings, semi-open areas, savannas with gallery woodland, lighter secondary woodland, humid... read more

    Food and feeding

    Beetles and flies, berries, e.g. Didymopanax morototoni, Cinnamomum cinnamomifolium, Cupania americana, ... read more


    Season Dec–Aug and Oct in Colombia; in S Venezuela, males in breeding condition in Feb. Nest a coarse cup of moss with thick lining... read more


    Apparently sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to common. Notably numerous in W Colombia and generally widespread in the country, acting as replacement of T.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black-billed Thrush (Turdus ignobilis). 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 28 February 2020).