Family Spot-throat and allies (Modulatricidae)

Least Concern

Spot-throat (Modulatrix stictigula)


French: Modulatrice à lunettes German: Fleckenkehlsopranist Spanish: Tordina de anteojos

Turdinus stictigula


, 1906,

Mbaramo, Usambara, Tanzania


Proposed race pressa (from S of range) usually considered undiagnosable, as characters on which it was based (and others, more recently used) are not apparent in large series of specimens. Treated as monotypic.


Mountains of E & S Tanzania (S from Usambaras and Nguru Mts, in NE) and extreme N Malawi.

Descriptive notes

15–17 cm. Dark brown babbler-like passerine with dull rufous breast and dark-mottled buffy throat; restless but shy. Crown and upperparts are dark rufescent olive-brown... read more


Song a loud, shrill, slurred whistling with some long higher notes, varying greatly regionally and... read more


Montane forest, including dense high-elevation thickets, locally also degraded forest (although in... read more

Food and feeding

Insects and berries reported. Probes in leaf litter and flicks leaves with bill; runs along forest floor or hops, with tail held slightly... read more


Birds in breeding condition in Oct–Mar (peak Nov–Dec) in Tanzania; peak in singing Feb–Mar in Malawi. Nest in one case a... read more


Resident; Dec record at 600 m in dry bushland suggests some altitudinal movement.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Tanzania-Malawi Mountains EBA. Uncommon to abundant, and especially numerous at higher elevations. Common in... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2020). Spot-throat (Modulatrix stictigula). 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 26 February 2020).