Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Great Thrush (Turdus fuscater)


French: Merle géant German: Riesendrossel Spanish: Mirlo grande

Turdus Fuscater

d’Orbigny and Lafresnaye

, 1837,

La Paz, Bolivia


Distinctive race ockendeni merits further investigation. Geographical variation otherwise appears somewhat clinal. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. f. cacozelus (Bangs, 1898) – Santa Marta Mts, in N Colombia.
  • T. f. clarus Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1953 – Sierra de Perijá, on NE Colombia–W Venezuela border.
  • T. f. quindio Chapman, 1925 – W & C Andes of Colombia and N Ecuador.
  • T. f. gigas Fraser, 1841 – E Andes of Venezuela and Colombia.
  • T. f. gigantodes Cabanis, 1873 – S Ecuador (S from Huigra) S in W Andes to C Peru (at least Junín, possibly farther S).
  • T. f. ockendeni Hellmayr, 1906 – SE Peru (Cuzco, Puno).
  • T. f. fuscater d’Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1837 – W Bolivia (La Paz, Cochabamba).
  • Descriptive notes

    28–33 cm; 128–175 g. Large, long-tailed thrush. Nominate race is olive-tinged grey-brown, darker above, paler below, with darker lores, dark streaking on pale... read more


    Song, from branch in middle level, infrequent (mostly in darkness before dawn, only in breeding... read more


    Cleared and partially opened areas, including fields, farmyards and gardens with hedges and patches... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits and berries, also insects and earthworms. Forages on ground, especially on short-grass pastures and roadsides, but also regularly... read more


    Mar–Apr in Venezuela; Jan–Aug, with fledglings Jan and food-carrying Sept, in Colombia; Oct in Ecuador, and Feb and Jun in Peru... read more


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to very common; in many areas one of the most frequently seen bird species, particularly in N of range (S to Ecuador). In Colombia very common... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Great Thrush (Turdus fuscater). 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 2 April 2020).