Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Groundscraper Thrush (Psophocichla litsitsirupa)


French: Grive litsitsirupa German: Akaziendrossel Spanish: Zorzal litsitsirupa

Merula litsitsirupa

A. Smith

, 1836,

between the Orange River and the Tropic of Capricorn, southern Africa


Hitherto treated as conspecific with P. simensis (which see). Races stierlingi and pauciguttata considered of doubtful validity. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. l. stierlingi (Reichenow, 1900) – Angola (except S) E to SW Tanzania.
  • P. l. pauciguttata (Clancey, 1956) – S Angola, N Namibia, NW Botswana and W Zimbabwe.
  • P. l. litsitsirupa (A. Smith, 1836) – C Namibia and S Zambia S and E to N South Africa, Swaziland and S Mozambique.
  • Descriptive notes

    20–22 cm; 67–84·4 g. Mid-sized, broad-winged, short-tailed thrush with Zoothera face pattern and Turdus wing pattern; sometimes flicks... read more


    Song a variety of loud, slow, short phrases of 4–8 notes combining rather unmelodious... read more


    Moorland, grassland, open woodland, secondary growth, cultivated or grazed land, gardens; rarely in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and their larvae, e.g. flies, termites, grasshoppers, beetles; also spiders, isopods, slugs, earthworms, skinks and fruit. Forages... read more


    Season Jul–Sept in DR Congo, Aug and Oct–Dec in Tanzania, and Sept–Oct in Malawi and Angola; Aug–Nov (mainly Sept–Oct) in Zambia; Oct–Mar... read more


    Mainly resident. Perhaps a migrant through SW Tanzania, where all records Aug–Nov. In Zambia... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally frequent to common throughout range; uncommon in SW Tanzania, Malawi, SW Mozambique, and Free State (South Africa). In S... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Groundscraper Thrush (Psophocichla litsitsirupa). 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 17 February 2020).