Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

White-throated Thrush (Turdus assimilis)


French: Merle à gorge blanche German: Weißkehldrossel Spanish: Zorzal cuelliblanco norteño

Turdus assimilis


, 1851,

#R, Jalapa, Veracruz


Until recently considered to form a subspecies group of T. albicollis. Differs, however, in plumage, with overall browner-grey underparts (1), slightly darker on breast (1), and variably “colder” (greyer or more olive) upperparts (ns); and strongly in voice, song being delivered at a steady pace, typically changing notes all the time, but many repeated 2–3 times, most notes in range 1.5–3.5 kHz, occasionally higher, vs a continuous slow series (“caroling”) of throaty whistles at rather flat pitch, thus present species singing at a higher pace (score 2), with shorter, more variable notes (ns[2]) but often with 2–4 repeats (3) and in larger frequency range (ns[2])#R. Form daguae appears to form a bridge to T. albicollis, having the browner-grey underparts and darker breast of present species but song of T. albicollis, which see (below). Number of races surprisingly high, given modest levels of differentiation, and thorough revision needed; proposed race oblitus (from Costa Rica) merged with leucauchen. Thirteen subspecies currently recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. a. calliphthongus R. T. Moore, 1937 – NW Mexico (SE Sonora to NE Sinaloa and SW Chihuahua).
  • T. a. lygrus Oberholser, 1921 – C & S Mexico (C Sinaloa S to S Oaxaca and Chiapas, E to Morelos).
  • T. a. suttoni A. R. Phillips, 1991 – E Mexico (SW Tamaulipas and NE San Luis Potosí).
  • T. a. assimilis Cabanis, 1851 – C Mexico (E Hidalgo and W Veracruz S to N Oaxaca).
  • T. a. leucauchen P. L. Sclater, 1859 – S Mexico (SE Veracruz, NE Oaxaca and N Chiapas) S on Atlantic slope to Costa Rica.
  • T. a. rubicundus (Dearborn, 1907) – Pacific slope of SE Mexico (S Chiapas), W Guatemala and El Salvador.
  • T. a. benti A. R. Phillips, 1991 – SW El Salvador.
  • T. a. hondurensis A. R. Phillips, 1991 – L Yojoa area of C Honduras.
  • T. a. atrotinctus W. deW. Miller & Griscom, 1925 – E Honduras and N Nicaragua.
  • T. a. cnephosus (Bangs, 1902) – SW Costa Rica and W Panama.
  • T. a. campanicola A. R. Phillips, 1991 – Cerro Campana, in C Panama.
  • T. a. croizati A. R. Phillips, 1991 – Azuero Peninsula, in SC Panama.
  • T. a. coibensis Eisenmann, 1950 – Coiba I and associated islets (off S Panama).
  • Descriptive notes

    22–26 cm; 62–87 g. Nominate race has greyish-brown to brown head and upperparts, white throat heavily streaked with dark brown meeting short white collar on... read more


    Song of two types, one very close to that of T. migratorius, the other much louder, fuller... read more


    Often confined to forest but also uses forest edge, brushy thickets and second growth. Found in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, earthworms and other invertebrates, fruits of many plant species. In N Middle America, apparently forages more in trees than on... read more


    Apr–Jul in Mexico; breeding-condition birds Mar–May in Belize; Mar to early Jun in Costa Rica, to Jul in Panama. Nest a... read more


    Generally sedentary, but with some elevational movement between non-breeding and breeding seasons.... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to very common in appropriate habitat in Mexico. In interior montane Belize generally abundant. In El Salvador uncommon... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Marks, J.S. (2019). White-throated Thrush (Turdus assimilis). 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 17 June 2019).