Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-backed Thrush (Turdus rufopalliatus)


French: Merle à dos roux German: Rotmanteldrossel Spanish: Zorzal dorsirrufo
Other common names: Rufous-backed Robin

Turdus rufo-palliatus


, 1840,

Monterey, California; error = Acapulco, Mexico


Race graysoni has been considered a separate species, and such treatment supported by recent mtDNA analysis#R; in absence of vocal data, however, confirmatory evidence desirable. Race interior sometimes subsumed into nominate. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. r. rufopalliatus Lafresnaye, 1840 – Rufous-backed Thrush – W Mexico.
  • T. r. interior A. R. Phillips, 1991 – SC Mexico.
  • T. r. graysoni (Ridgway, 1882) – Tres Marias Thrush – Tres Marías Is (off W Mexico).
  • Descriptive notes

    21·5–25·5 cm; 72–85 g. Male nominate race has pale grey head, mantle, wings and tail, black lores and yellow eyering, grey-washed dull chestnut... read more


    Song a series of leisurely low-pitched rich warbling phrases, e.g. “weedele loo loo freerlii... read more


    All strata of arid to semi-humid deciduous and semi-deciduous forest, thorn-forest (where most... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruit is staple diet, at least outside breeding season. Commonly forages on ground.


    Jun–Aug, coinciding with onset of summer rains. Nest in one instance placed in small garden tree 3 m up. Eggs 3, whitish with heavy... read more


    Largely sedentary, but part of population on Tres Marías Is (race graysoni) visits... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Race graysoni, sometimes treated as a separate species, is a restricted-range taxon: present in North-west Mexican Pacific Slope EBA. Fairly... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Rufous-backed Thrush (Turdus rufopalliatus). 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 18 February 2020).