Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Spotted Nightingale-thrush (Catharus dryas)


French: Grive tavelée German: Tropfenbrust-Musendrossel Spanish: Zorzalito overo

Malacocichla dryas


, 1855,



Proposed race harrisoni (from Oaxaca, in S Mexico) regarded as exhibiting characters within range of variation of ovandensis; similarly, ecuadoreanus (Andes of W Ecuador) within range of variation of maculatus; last-mentioned, however, is itself weakly differentiated and barely sustainable. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. d. ovandensis Brodkorb, 1938 – S Mexico (Oaxaca, Chiapas).
  • C. d. dryas (Gould, 1855) – Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and W Nicaragua (Tepesomoto–La Pataste Nature Reserve#R).
  • C. d. maculatus (P. L. Sclater, 1858) – W Venezuela, E slope of Andes in Colombia S to W & E Ecuador, E Peru and W Bolivia.
  • C. d. blakei Olrog, 1973 – S Bolivia S to N Argentina (Jujuy, Salta).
  • Descriptive notes

    17–19 cm; 36–44 g. Male nominate race has sharply defined black head to submoustachial, with dull olive-grey upperparts, chin and throat rather plain buff, olive-... read more


    Song, sometimes in flight, a series of very short, variable phrases, each consisting of 2–3... read more


    Undergrowth of humid mossy montane, foothill and lower subtropical forest (cloudforest), especially... read more

    Food and feeding

    Forages commonly on ground among leaf litter, occasionally coming on to forest trails to feed in twilight. Sometimes attends army-ant... read more


    May–Oct in Mexico and Aug in El Salvador; fledglings in Feb in Bolivia and Feb and Sept in Peru; juvenile Apr in Ecuador. Eggs 2,... read more


    Resident; Ecuador record from as low as 175 m in Jul may refer to seasonal altitudinal movement,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally fairly common. Uncommon to rare (rarest of this genus) in Honduras. In 2010, recorded for the first time in Nicaragua. ... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Spotted Nightingale-thrush (Catharus dryas). 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 28 January 2020).