Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Kurrichane Thrush (Turdus libonyana)


French: Merle kurrichane German: Rotschnabeldrossel Spanish: Zorzal de Kurrichane

Merula Libonyana

A. Smith

, 1836,

near Kurrichane, western Transvaal, South Africa


Sister to T. bewsheri. Hybridization with T. olivaceus claimed in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Proposed race chobiensis (from N Botswana and W Zimbabwe) considered indistinguishable from verreauxii, and peripheris (E South Africa) from nominate. Original spelling misquoted in HBW and elsewhere#R as “libonyanus”; correct original spelling now applied, and this is invariable#R#R#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. l. tropicalis W. K. H. Peters, 1881 – SE Burundi and Tanzania S to C & E Zambia, Malawi, E Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
  • T. l. verreauxii Bocage, 1869 – #RAngola and SE DRCongo S to NE Namibia, W Zambia, N Botswana and W Zimbabwe.
  • T. l. libonyana (A. Smith, 1836) – E & S Botswana E to S Mozambique, S to N & NE South Africa and Swaziland.
  • Descriptive notes

    21–23 cm; 46–82 g. Head to breast and upperparts medium grey; throat white, streaked blackish at sides; orange-­rufous flanks, whitish centre of belly;... read more


    Song a series of short but very variable phrases, some rich and warbling, others thin and sweet,... read more


    Mainly miombo woodland, also Baikiaeia and acacia woodland (but not on Kalahari sands),... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly invertebrates, particularly insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, ants, grubs and caterpillars, last... read more


    Oct–Nov in Angola, Sept–Nov in Tanzania and Sept–Dec in DRCongo; Aug–Dec (mainly Sept–Nov), rarely Mar–... read more


    Sedentary over most of range. Dispersal noted into SE Botswana Dec–Mar, and post-breeding... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common in most of range; uncommon in Tanzania and parts of Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Rare at edges of range at higher... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & de Juana, E. (2019). Kurrichane Thrush (Turdus libonyana). 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 14 December 2019).