Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Eastern Slaty Thrush (Turdus subalaris)


French: Merle à calotte grise German: Tiefland-Graudrossel Spanish: Zorzal plomizo oriental

Merula subalaris


, 1887,

Jatubá, western Goiás


Until recently considered conspecific with T. nigriceps, but HBW text mistaken in suggesting distinctions “relatively minor” (and molecular study places the two taxa far apart#R): differs in its white vs pale grey to whitish-grey mid-breast to vent (3); more white in streaked throat pattern, with small white crescent on uppermost breast (2); crown concolorous with upperparts rather than distinctly darker (ns[1]); female much more like male, without brown tones of female T. nigriceps (2); slightly smaller bill (effect size –1.11, score 1) but rather longer tail (effect size 2.01, score 2); and very different song (a repetition of some four similar-sounding dissonant notes, often preceded by a high-pitched descending whistle, vs some jumbled medium-pitched whistles gradually shifting towards high-pitched “see” notes), involving much shorter song phrase (3) with fewer different notes (3) and no clear difference in pitch between start and finish (ns[2])#R. Monotypic.


E Paraguay, SE Brazil and NE Argentina (Misiones); non-breeding also N to SC Brazil (N to Mato Grosso and Goiás).

Descriptive notes

20–22·5 cm; 46–55 g. Adult male has grey upperparts and breast, white throat less streaked black centrally and terminating in unstreaked white patch, and... read more


Song, compared to previously conspecific T. nigriceps, less jumbled and less musical, a... read more


Canopy and borders of Araucaria groves, dense riverine and semi-deciduous forest, woodland... read more

Food and feeding

Invertebrates, but mainly fruit. Invertebrates include snails, beetles, ants and flies; fruits reported include Rapanea villosissima... read more


Not well known. Season Nov–Dec (and breeding-condition birds Oct and Jan) in Brazil. One nest was a cup of moss, sticks and vines, placed... read more


In Brazil, mainly a breeding visitor in SE, arriving mainly second half Sept, departing by mid Apr... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common, but easily overlooked (especially in non-breeding season when usually quiet and unobtrusive). Appears to have... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Eastern Slaty Thrush (Turdus subalaris). 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).