Family Thrushes (Turdidae)


Spotted Ground-thrush (Geokichla guttata)


French: Grive tachetée German: Nataldrossel Spanish: Zorzal moteado

Turdus guttatus


, 1831,

Algoa Bay, Agrica [= Durban, Natal]


Taxonomic history complex; in the past, species often referred to as Turdus fischeri. Geographical variation minimal; birds in N of range of nominate race suggested as belonging to race belcheri, but recent reassessment supports current arrangement. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. g. maxis (Nikolaus, 1982) – Lotti Forest, in S South Sudan.
  • G. g. lippensi (Prigogine & Louette, 1984) – Upemba National Park, in SE DRCongo.
  • G. g. fischeri (Hellmayr, 1901) – Rondo Plateau and the Litipo Forest, in SE Tanzania (probably also NE Mozambique); non-breeding N to coastal NE Tanzania and Kenya.
  • G. g. belcheri (Benson, 1950) – Thyolo and Soche Mts, in S Malawi.
  • G. g. guttata (Vigors, 1831) – coastal NE Eastern Cape and scattered locations of KwaZulu-Natal, in E South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–23 cm; 45–78 g. Nominate race is fairly large, warm brown above from head to tail, with two white-spotted wingbars (upper bolder and with black basal markings... read more


    Song of nominate (when breeding) a series of loud phrases of 3–6 sweet melodic notes (first... read more


    Forest of various types. Coastal lowland moist evergreen forest, especially closed-canopy coral-rag... read more

    Food and feeding

    Earthworms, molluscs, small millipedes (Prionopetalum), also insects and their larvae, including termites and ants; also seeds and... read more


    Nov in Malawi and Oct–Feb in South Africa. Nest a conspicuous, untidy, heavy cup of twigs, leaves, tendrils, roots and grasses,... read more


    Resident and intra-African migrant. Malawi race (belcheri) sedentary. Race fischeri... read more

    Status and conservation

    ENDANGERED. CMS Appendix II. Generally very rare, but moderately common at a few localities. Global population estimated at fewer than 2500 individuals. Density of non-... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2019). Spotted Ground-thrush (Geokichla guttata). 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 August 2019).