Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Clay-colored Thrush (Turdus grayi)


French: Merle fauve German: Gilbdrossel Spanish: Zorzal pardo

Turdus Grayi


, 1838,

Alta Vera Paz, Guatemala


In the past sometimes thought to be conspecific with T. nudigenis (which see, below), but differences considered too great to warrant such treatment. Geographical variation for the most part very slight; some races perhaps better merged. Proposed race umbrinus (from Guatemala) apparently based on fresh nominate specimens. Nine subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. g. tamaulipensis (Nelson, 1897) – E Mexico (E Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, N Veracruz), scarce in extreme S USA (S Texas).
  • T. g. microrhynchus Lowery & Newman, 1949 – EC Mexico (SC San Luis Potosí).
  • T. g. lanyoni Dickerman, 1981 – Caribbean drainage of S Mexico, N Guatemala and S Belize.
  • T. g. yucatanensis A. R. Phillips, 1991 – N Yucatán Peninsula (SE Mexico and N Belize).
  • T. g. linnaei A. R. Phillips, 1966 – S Mexico (Pacific Oaxaca and lowland S Chiapas) E to Guatemala border.
  • T. g. grayi Bonaparte, 1838 – S Mexico (Pacific slope of S Chiapas) E to W Guatemala.
  • T. g. megas W. deW. Miller & Griscom, 1925 – Pacific slope of W Guatemala S to Honduras and Nicaragua.
  • T. g. casius (Bonaparte, 1855) – Costa Rica S to NW Colombia (S to central W slope of Andes#R).
  • T. g. incomptus (Bangs, 1898) – coastal N Colombia (Barranquilla E to Santa Marta Peninsula).
  • Descriptive notes

    23–26·5 cm; 65–86 g. Nominate race is dull mid-brown above; whitish throat with diffuse mid-brown streaks, shading into pale brownish breast and flanks,... read more


    Song, apparently only by male, just before and during breeding (intensely in pre-nesting stage,... read more


    Open forest and forest edge, lighter thinned woodland, clearings and semi-open areas, field margins... read more

    Food and feeding

    Earthworms, slugs, larval and adult insects, occasionally lizards, also many types of fruit. Many gather at fruiting trees, taking ... read more


    Coincident with advent of rainy season, and highly synchronized locally (mean of 25% of females fertile on given day), so that duration of... read more


    Presumably sedentary. Some local wandering apparent; in Guatemala, most individuals of nominate... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common throughout range in Middle America. Very common in disturbed habitats in Belize, and especially numerous in low valleys along... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Clay-colored Thrush (Turdus grayi). 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).