Turdus pritzbueri Layard

Lifou Thrush (Turdus pritzbueri)

The Lifou Thrush was endemic to the island of Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, it is a member of the ‚Island Thrush species complex‘ and was formerly regarded to as one of about 70 (!!!) subspecies within a single species (Turdus poliocephalus Latham). 

The species was last recorded in 1878, when the last six specimens were collected. It appears to have been eradicated by introduced Black Rats (Rattus rattus (L.))


This (sub)species is supposed to also inhabit or have inhabited the island of Tanna, Vanuatu, which for geographical reasons is indeed possible, but rather unlikely. Given the usual distribution patterns of this species complex, it would make this taxon the only of the 70 within its complex occurring on more that one island.

This assumption furthermore goes back to one or two museum specimens that were allegedly collected on Tanna, but these appear to be trade skins obtained by European collectors from local traders. [1]


syn. Turdus poliocephalus ssp. pritzbueri Layard


Depiction from: ‘Henry Seebohm; R. Bowdler Sharpe: A Monograph of the Turdidae or family of thrushes. London: Henry Sotheran 1902’

(public domain)



[1] J. P. Hume; M. Walters: Extinct Birds. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 2012


edited: 29.11.2018