Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Black-hooded Thrush (Turdus olivater)


French: Merle à froc noir German: Kapuzendrossel Spanish: Zorzal cabecinegro

Merula olivatra


, 1848,

Caracas, Venezuela


Has been suggested that race caucae, with dark (not black) head and dark-streaked off-white throat to breast, may merit species rank, but is morphologically only moderately distinct. Race ptaritepui sometimes synonymized with roraimae. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. o. sanctaemartae (Todd, 1913) – N Colombia (Santa Marta).
  • T. o. caucae (Chapman, 1914) – SW Colombia.
  • T. o. olivater (Lafresnaye, 1848) – mountains of N & W Venezuela and adjacent Colombia.
  • T. o. paraquensis Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1946 – Cerro Paraque (S Venezuela).
  • T. o. kemptoni Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1955 – Cerro de la Neblina (S Venezuela).
  • T. o. duidae Chapman, 1929 – S Venezuela (NW Bolívar, N Amazonas).
  • T. o. ptaritepui Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1946 – SE Venezuela (SE Bolívar).
  • T. o. roraimae Salvin & Godman, 1884 – SE Venezuela, W Guyana and extreme N Brazil (Roraima).
  • Also (race unknown) in C Suriname (Tafelberg Tepui#R).

    Descriptive notes

    23–24 cm; 70–91 g. Male nominate race has black hood, dark olive-brown upperparts, sandy-orange underparts; yellow bill, narrow eyering and legs. Female is... read more


    Song, from perch in middle strata or in canopy, a series of loud, rather slow, musical phrases,... read more


    Lower storey to canopy and borders of humid montane forest and secondary woodland, and in shade... read more

    Food and feeding

    Dietary details not recorded. Forages on ground, flipping over leaf litter; sometimes attends army-ant swarms. Forages also in fruiting... read more


    Jan–Jul. Nest made of mud and moss, placed low down. Eggs 2–3, pale blue with purple and light brown spotting. No other... read more


    Presumably sedentary. Possibly short-distance migrant in Venezuela, where sharp seasonal and/or... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to common; numerous in tepuis of SE Venezuela, but uncommon elsewhere in this country. Race caucae of SW... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black-hooded Thrush (Turdus olivater). 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).