Great Thrush

Information about the Bird Great Thrush

The great thrush (Turdus fuscater) is a species of bird in the family Turdidae. It is found in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. It is considered as the largest thrush in South America. The great thrush's size distinguishes it from the several other uniform slaty-colored thrushes in its range. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, subtropical or tropical high-altitude shrubland, and heavily degraded former forest, and it is often found near urban areas.

Turdus fuscater is a typical andean highlands bird. Its range covers the Andes in west and north of Venezuela, where it can reach the zones of Lara and Trujillo. Its range continues to the Andes of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and finally, northwest Bolivia. Precisely in the cities of La Paz and Cochabamba. It can live in an altitudinal range between 1800 and 4000 meters.
Nowadays, there are seven known subspecies of Turdus fuscater:
This brid can measure between 28 to 30 centimeters and weight between 128 and 175 grams, this is the reason why it is considered as the largest thrush in South America. It can be easily identified by its beak and legs, that show a yellowish-orange color. In addition, this species possesses a ring outside the eye, which is very yellow. This exact characteristic can help identify the species, although it can be lacking in juveniles and females. Another distinguishable trait is its tail, which has long feathers. The color of the feathers is characterized by a black-brown tonality. This color is darker in the wings and tail. In the other hand, it is pale in the belly zone. There can be differences in coloration depending which subspecies we are looking at: ockendeni is the darkest one, followed by quindio and gigantodes. The palest subspecies are gigas, cacozelus and fuscater. It is known, even though is extremely rare, that some thrushes can be albinistic, making their feathers completely white.
In the case of the juveniles, they show feathers that are predominantly greenish gray, and also pale. In the head and the wings we can see some spots of buff color. It can be found in certain individuals a kind of sexual dimorphism. In some cases, males can have yellow legs and the females can show a more brownish tone in its legs.
This bird can be found in a series of diverse habitats. It can be found in open areas such as open forest zones, backyards, parks, and even farmland sided with portions of forests or with some dispersed trees. It is known that they can also inhabit in the edges of different classes of andean forests. An example of those are humid montane forests, secondary forests and temperate forests. It is more likely to be found in zones higher tha 2000 meters. This birds tends to prevent dry ecosystems and densely forested areas. In some cases, it can reach the edges of andean paramo or adapt itself to live in shrublands. It is very common to found these birds in the cities in the highlands, such as Quito and Bogota, where it has adapated to urban life. The populations of this species do not tend to move away from their traditional life zones, so they can be defined as sedentary.
This species of bird can be defined as omnivore. Even if its principal diet is composed by fruits and berries, thay also are capable of consuming earthworms and little insects. The mayority of time it forages, it does it at ground level, with preference in zones of short grass, but it can also perch trees with fruit and shrubs if the situation needs it.
In respect of the behavior of this animal, it changes depending if it is in the breeding season or not. When the breeding season arrives, these birds become very territorial and tend to be alone in most of cases. There are situations in which a pair can be found. When the breeding season passes, they are likely to form groups up to 40 individuals. It is probable that these groups form a communal perch in trees until the next breeding season comes.
They are more active at dawn and dusk, but it is not uncommon to find one or two throughout the day. Most of the time they are active they tend to be hopping on the groud, searching for something to eat. If something scares them they take flight, but they do not fly much.
If we could define the personality of this bird we could say it is aggressive. When it is feeding, it feeds in a voracious way and tends to eat the entire fruits. It is known that it is capable of attacking other birds nests for stealing their eggs or even the hatchlings.
Turdus fuscater has a diverse variety of songs and voices which are going to be explained:
The breeding seasons may occur at different times of the year depending on the places of the populatons of these birds:
When the pair is established, they build the nest. The nest has a cup shape an is pretty big. It is made generally of small twigs, leaves and grass, united by mud. The placement of the nest is likely found in trees or shrubs at low height. The female lays two eggs of pale blue-greenish color with reddish spots, with an average size of two centimeters.
Upon classification of vulnerability given by the IUCN, this species has been given the grade of Least Concern. It is known that their populations show good numbers and are very far from descending. In addition, they are birds that are very easy to find in a variety of ecosystems. Thay are fully adapted to anthropogenic disturbances, being urban sites, deforestation or farmlands. These birds can take advantage of what humans make and colonize new territories.

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