Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Mountain Thrush (Turdus plebejus)


French: Merle de montagne German: Cabanisdrossel Spanish: Zorzal plebeyo
Other common names: American Mountain Thrush

Turdus plebejus


, 1861,

Costa Rica


Has been treated as conspecific with T. ignobilis, but genetic data#R indicate that the two are only distantly related. Geographical variation minimal and probably clinal; possibly better treated as monotypic. Three subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. p. differens (Nelson, 1901) – SE Mexico and Guatemala.
  • T. p. rafaelensis W. deW. Miller & Griscom, 1925 – Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and NW Costa Rica.
  • T. p. plebejus Cabanis, 1861 – Costa Rica and W Panama.
  • Descriptive notes

    23–25·5 cm; 86 g. Nominate race is dull darkish olive-brown above, paler drab-brown below, with slightly darker face, slightly paler throat with vague brown... read more


    Song (relatively infrequently given) a rapid, sustained, monotonous, mechanical and unmusical... read more


    Humid evergreen forest and edge, open oak woodland, second growth, tall epiphyte-burdened mountain... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arillate seeds and many kinds of berries, including small red berries of “pisco” (Myrtaceae) and seeds of “largartillo... read more


    Mar–Jun in Costa Rica. Nest a large cup of green moss with middle layer of dry bamboo leaves, thin lining of black rootlets, hidden... read more


    Apparently sedentary or minor altitudinal migrant; in Costa Rica at height of rains, makes post-... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common in N of range, but very uncommon in Oaxaca (Mexico). Abundant in C highlands of Costa Rica. Fairly common to common in Panama.

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Mountain Thrush (Turdus plebejus). 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 27 February 2020).