Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Brown-headed Thrush (Turdus chrysolaus)


French: Merle à flancs roux German: Japandrossel Spanish: Zorzal cabecipardo

Turdus chrysolaus


, 1832,



Formerly treated as conspecific with T. pallidus, sometimes also with T. celaenops (which see) or T. obscurus. Birds from N & C Kuril Is described as race orii, supposedly larger and darker, but characters not constant. Monotypic.


Sakhalin, Kuril Is and Japan (S to C Honshu); non-breeding C & S Japan, Ryukyu Is, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Hainan and N Philippines.

Descriptive notes

23–24 cm; 64–90 g. Male has slaty-brown face and throat, shading through brown on hindcrown and neck to russet-tinged brown upperparts; chestnut-orange breast and... read more


Song, sometimes given prior to spring migration, is a series of phrases consisting of 3–4... read more


Breeds in dense broadleaf deciduous and mixed forests and forest edge; on Sakhalin most frequent in... read more

Food and feeding

In summer mainly insects (cicadas, click-beetles, weevils, carrion beetles, carabid beetles, bumblebees, ants and caterpillars), but also... read more


Late May to Jul N of range; May–Aug in Japan; double-brooded. Nest a cup of mud, grass and pine needles, lined with dried leaves,... read more


Migrant, moving along Chinese coast. Departs Sakhalin Sept–Oct, with late leavers into early... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly rare to locally common on Sakhalin. Common summer breeder in S Kurils, Hokkaido and N & C Honshu, making it commonest... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N. (2020). Brown-headed Thrush (Turdus chrysolaus). 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 19 February 2020).