Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Pale-breasted Thrush (Turdus leucomelas)


French: Merle leucomèle German: Fahlbrustdrossel Spanish: Zorzal sabiá

Turdus leucomelas


, 1818,



Genetic data#R suggest that this species forms a group with T. fumigatus and T. hauxwelli. Geographical variation very slight; some albiventer virtually identical to nominate. Apparently very isolated population in NC Peru not known to be morphologically or otherwise distinct. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. l. cautor Wetmore, 1946 – extreme N Colombia (Guajira Peninsula).
  • T. l. albiventer Spix, 1824 – N & NE Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas and NE Brazil.
  • T. l. leucomelas Vieillot, 1818 – NC & SE Peru, SC, S & E Brazil, W, C & E Bolivia, E Paraguay and NE Argentina; expanding S to NE Uruguay#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    23–27 cm; 47–78 g. Nominate race is pale olive-brown above, slightly brighter and rustier on wing-coverts and edges of secondaries, darker on primaries and tail,... read more


    Song, from middle or upper strata of trees, sometimes in flight, a series of melodious phrases with... read more


    Borders of humid forest, open forest, edge and adjacent clearings, drier deciduous woodland, light... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly fruit, with relatively little animal matter; insects (beetles), worms and small lizards recorded. One has been seen killing and... read more


    Jan–Aug in Colombia; Jul–Aug (but sings mainly Dec–Jul, probably breeds most of year) in Venezuela; all year but mainly... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common. In Colombia, seldom numerous but fairly common in Santa Marta foothills near Minca. In Venezuela common, and one of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Pale-breasted Thrush (Turdus leucomelas). 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 5 April 2020).