Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Scaly Thrush (Zoothera dauma)


French: Grive dama German: Himalajaerddrossel Spanish: Zorzal dorado del Himalaya

Turdus Dauma


, 1790,

Kashmir, India


Type species in a complex whose taxonomy remains unresolved, with badly needed research hampered by wide distribution, highly reclusive behaviour and (at least partly) migratory habits (which render identity of samples uncertain) of the target taxa. Until late 1990s considered conspecific with Z. aurea, and often with several other phenotypically very similar species (including Z. lunulata, Z. heinei and Z. machiki); HBW maintained Z. aurea as a subspecies pending clarification of certain subspecific relationships, but progress has been slow except for increasing body of acoustic evidence on which the arrangement here is based; nonetheless, identity of birds in SE Asia (present species or Z. aurea) remains unclear. Song of Z. major close to that of present species#R, but evidence now tilts balance in favour of splitting these two taxa. Song of breeding birds on Taiwan assigns them to Z. aurea; newly described iriomotensis on Iriomote (S Ryukyu Is) likewise placed with Z. aurea, though song remains unknown. Monotypic.


W Himalayas (from extreme NE Pakistan) E to Assam, SC China (Sichuan S to Yunnan and Guangxi), W & N Myanmar, N & W Thailand and N Indochina (status unknown in S Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia)#R; non-breeding mainly in Himalayan foothills, lowlands of NE Indian Subcontinent, S China and SE Asia.

Descriptive notes

28–30 cm; 88–130 g. A large, golden-olive to yellowish-looking thrush. Adult has face rather plain whitish, with white eyering, black-stippled malar and ear-... read more


Song a rather rapid but disconnected series of abrupt, simple, rich notes mixed with squawks, e.g... read more


Breeds in mature broadleaf forest, e.g. oak (Quercus), and conifer forest, e.g. silver fir... read more

Food and feeding

Invertebrates, including worms, insects and their larvae, small slugs and snails; also berries. Forages on ground or in low vegetation,... read more


Apr–Jun in Himalayas and Aug in N Thailand. Nest a large cup of moss, twigs, grass and roots, with basal rim of mud, twigs and moss,... read more


Altitudinal migrant in Himalayas; in Pakistan, this may be more E–W along outer foothills as... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). This species has a very large range within which its global population size has not been quantified. It is described as being... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Scaly Thrush (Zoothera dauma). 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 3 April 2020).