Tag Archives: Turdidae

Turdus lherminieri ssp. ‘Martinique’

Martinique Forest Thrush (Turdus lherminieri ssp.)

The Forest Thrush (Turdus lherminieri (Lafresnaye)) inhabits, respectively inhabited some of the islands of the Lesser Antilles, where it is known from Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Montserrat as well as from Saint Lucia.

The species is, however, not known from Martinique, which is located between Dominica and Saint Lucia, but almost for sure did once occur there as well and probably did so with an endemic subspecies; yet currently there is no proof so far for that assumption, thus I will only briefly mention this assumption here.

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edited: 02.05.2022

Myadestes lanaiensis ssp. ‘Maui’

Maui Thrush (Myadestes lanaiensis ssp.)

This form is known only from reports from the 1850s as well as from subfossil remains that were recovered from deposits on the island of Maui, Hawaiian Islands.

Taken into account the fact that all known island forms of the species are considered distinct subspecies, the form that formerly inhabited the island of Maui, must also have been a distinct form.

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References:

[1] S. L. Olson; H. F. James: Descriptions of thirty-two new species of birds from the Hawaiian Islands: Part II. Passeriformes. Ornithological Monographs 45: 1-91. 1991

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edited: 17.11.2021

Myadestes lanaiensis ssp. lanaiensis (Wilson)

Lanai Thrush (Myadestes lanaiensis ssp. lanaiensis)  

The Lanai Thrush was described in 1891. This thrush, which the Hawaiians called Oloma’o or Olomau, was restricted to the islands that formerly formed Maui-nui: Lana’i, Maui, and Moloka’i, Hawaiian Islands, with each of these islands harboring its own endemic subspecies respectively.  

All of them are now extinct.  

The specimens from Lanai, the island from which Wilson’s type came, are as a rule much white below, and the majority of them have the brown of the back somewhat less bright. As the measurements of their wings show, there is also a decided tendency to longer wings in the Molokai birds, but the longest of those from Lanai surpass several of those from Molokai. There is nothing extraordinary in it if we assume that the Phaeornis, inhabiting also low-lying regions, crosses from Lanai to Molokai, and therefore is the same species on both islands … The Olomao, as it is called, both on Lanai and Molokai, is not rare on both these islands, and Palmer saw it in the lowland as well as at the highest elevations. In the stomachs he found seeds and berries of different plants. When seen on a tree they were generally shaking their wings or “trembling,” as Palmer calls it. They have that clear call-note peculiar to this group, and also another deep hoarse cry. Their song is “of a jerky nature,” and consists of several clear notes.” [1]  

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The Lanai Thrush disappeared soon after the establishment and subsequent development of Lana’i City in the center of the island in 1923, it was last seen only 10 years later in 1933.  

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The Oloma’o certainly also inhabited the island of Kaho’olawe, probably with another endemic subspecies, before the island was completely devastated.  

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References:  

[1] W. Rothschild: The Avifauna of Laysan and the neighbouring islands with a complete history to date of the birds of the Hawaiian possession. 1893-1900  

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bird on bottom; together with Large Kauai Thrush (Myadestes myadestinus (Stejneger))

Depiction from: ‘Scott B. Wilson; A. H. Wilson; Frederick William Frohawk; Hans Gadow: Aves Hawaiienses: the birds of the Sandwich Islands. London: R.H. Porter 1890-1899’  

(not in copyright)  

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edited: 01.04.2018

Myadestes elisabeth ssp. retrusus Bangs & Zappey

Isle of Pines Solitaire (Myadestes elisabeth ssp. retrusus)  

The Cuban Solitaire (Myadestes elisabeth (Lembeye)) [see photo] is endemic to the island of Cuba, where it apparently inhabits moist montane forests.  

The species also inhabited Isla de la Juventud off the southern coast of Cuba, these birds, however differed from the Cuban birds and thus were described in 1905 as a distinct subspecies.  

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Similar to M. e. elizabeth, but still smaller, narrower, and more pointed, and coloration clearer and grayer, the upper parts nearly mouse gray instead of deep hair brown or olive, the under parts nearly pure white passing into very pale clear gray on chest and sides of breast.” [1]  

***

The bird reached a length of about 17,5 cm.  

The Isle of Pines Solitaire disappeared due to the destruction of its habitat, an ill fate that now also seems to befall the Cuban Solitaire which is officially listed as ‘Near Threatened’.  

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References:  

[1] Robert Ridgway: The birds of North and Middle America: A descriptive catalogue of the higher groups, genera, species, and subspecies of birds known to occur in North America, from the arctic lands to the isthmus of Panama, the West Indies and other islands of the Caribbean sea, and the Galapagos Archipelago. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 50(4). 1907  

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Cuban Solitaire (Myadestes elisabeth); nominate race  

Photo: Francesco Veronesi

(under creative commons license (2.0)) 
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0

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edited: 01.04.2018

Turdus sp. ‘Madeira’

Madeiran Thrush (Turdus sp.)

This up to now undescribed taxon is known only on the basis of subfossil remains that were found (quite commonly) on the island of Madeira. [2]

The Madeiran Thrush was a large, long-legged species, apparently adapted to a terrestrial lifestyle, it is not known if the species was flightless, but it was very likely a poor flyer and a typical tame (naive) island bird with no fear for humans or other mammals ….

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Today, the only species of thrush inhabiting the island of Madeira is the native Blackbird (Turdus merula ssp. cabrerae Hartert) with a subspecies that also inhabits the Canary Islands.

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There is a quite interesting account from 1823, made by T. Edward Bowdich, who apparently was the only person who has ever recorded this species, he even shot one on the island of Porto Santo.: 

We shot the falco oesalon; the upupa capensis, which I presume was not known inhabit so far north; the larus canus, said by the natives to be blown over from the African coast; the columba livia, of which there are large flocks; a turdus; the loxia enucleator, and a larger corythus.” [1]

About the thrush he makes to following additional comment.:

The back and belly are brown, with patches of yellow, the wings and tail brown; the beak is strong, and of a brown colour, except the first half of the lower mandible, which is yellow.” [1]

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References:

[1] T. Edward Bowdich; Sarah Lee Bowdich: Excursions in Madeira and Porto Santo, during the autumn of 1823, while on his third voyage to Africa. London: G. B. Whittaker 1825
[2] Harald Pieper: The fossil land birds of Madeira and Porto Santo. Bocagiana 88: 1-6. 1985

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edited: 20.02.2020

Zoothera heinei ssp. choiseuli (E. J. O. Hartert)

Choiseul Russet-tailed Thrush (Zoothera heinei ssp. choiseuli)

The Choiseul Russet-tailed Thrush is thought to be endemic to the island of Choiseul, Solomon Islands.

The thrush has a size of about 20 cm, it has plain dark upperparts and an indistinct buffy moustachial stripe and eye-ring, the underparts are creamy-buff with dusky-brown scales, the belly and vent are whiter.

***

This bird is known from a single specimen that was collected in 1904, since then none was ever found again … until 2013, when a juvenile bird that can be assigned to the same species was collected on the island of Santa Isabel, which is the neighbor island of Choiseul.

The question is now if this juvenile can be assigned to the same subspecies or if it represents a new one.

***

The Choiseul Russet-tailed Thrush will stay on the blog until this question is finally solved.

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edited: 17.05.2019

Turdus lherminieri ssp. sanctaeluciae (P. L. Sclater)

St. Lucia Forest Thrush (Turdus lherminieri ssp. sanctaeluciae)

The Forest Thrush is endemic to the Lesser Antilles, were four subspecies have been described, each inhabiting only a single island (Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, and Saint Lucia).

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The St. Lucia Forest Thrush differed from the nominate race by its slightly lighter colored upper side, the absence of black spots on its chest, by its slightly less pronounced rufous shade on the lower throat and the foreneck as well as by the lighter rufous coloration of the inner lining of its quills, by the brown bases of its undertail coverts which have white instead of cream-colored tips, and finally by its nearly completely yellow beak.

R. Bowdler Sharpe writes about this island form in 1902.:

… that it is called in Santa Lucia “Molvie” or “Mauvie”. … This bird is counted as one of our game birds, and is killed in large numbers from August to January yearly. About October to December these birds are found in large numbers in flocks feeding on the berries of certain trees; but for the remainder of the year they are dispersed in pairs, and become very poor. They breed about April or May, the female building a nest of dried leaves, twigs &c. on a bush or low tree, laying two eggs of a blue-green. they take very little shot to kill them.” [1]

***

Formerly considered to be quite common, the St. Lucia Forest Thrush was last seen in 2007 near the town of Chassin in the northern part of the island, it is now believed to be most likely completely extinct. [1]

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References:

[1] Hannah Wheatley: Forest thrush (Turdus lherminieri): request for information. BirdLife’s Globally Threatened Bird Forums. August 23, 2018

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(bird in foreground)

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

(public domain)

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edited: 12.06.2020

Turdus sp. ‘Tongatapu’

Tongatapu Thrush (Turdus sp.)

This thrush from the island of Tongatapu, the largest island in the island kingdom of Tonga, is known only by subfossil remains. [1]

Most of the thrush populations that formerly were assigned to as subspecies of the so called ‚Island Thrush‘ (Turdus poliocephalus Latham) are now more or less generally accepted as being distinct species, thus I’d like to consider all of the Polynesian thrushes as being resp. having been distinct species restricted to single islands each.  

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References:  

[1] D. W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press 2006

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edited: 27.11.2018

Turdus sp. ”Eua’

Eua Thrush (Turdus sp.)

The thrushes that once inhabited the island of ‘Eua, Tonga were either identical with those from the neighboring island of Tongatapu, or, more likely, were a distinct subspecies or species.

The taxon, whatever it may have been, is known only from subfossil remains, and died out soon after the arrival oft he first Polynesain settlers. [1]  

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References:  

[1] D. W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press 2006

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edited: 27.11.2018

Turdus olivater ssp. caucae (Chapman)

Cauca Black-hooded Thrush (Turdus olivater ssp. caucae)

The Black-hooded Thrush (Turdus olivater (Lafresnaye)) (see photo) occurs in northern South America, Mainly in Colombia and Venezuela, eight subspecies are distinguished of which the one, discussed here, is endemic to the Cauca Vvalley in southwest Colombia.

The habitat of the Cauca Black-hooded Thrush is now more or less completely destroyed by logging and this little known subspecies is possibly extinct.

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Black-hooded Thrush (Turdus olivater (Lafresnaye)); nominate race

Photo: Fernando Flores

(under creative commons license (2.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0

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edited: 03.10.2020

Myadestes woahensis (Bloxam)

Oahu Thrush (Myadestes woahensis)

The Oahu Thrush, locally known as ‘āmaui, was described in 1899; it was restricted to the island of O’ahu, Hawaiian Islands.

The only record of the species in life comes from the diary of Andrew Bloxam, a naturalist that was on board of the HMS Blonde which anchored off the coast of the island of O’ahu in 1825; he also took the only specimen that apparently still survives until today.:

We soon began to ascend the pass the sun rising at the time amid the chirping of small birds and the melodious notes of a brown thrush, the only songster on the islands.

The Oahu Thrush was never found again since.

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edited: 17.11.2021

Myadestes lanaiensis ssp. rutha (Bryan)

Molokai Thrush (Myadestes lanaiensis ssp. rutha)

The Molokai Thrush, described in 1891, was restricted to the island of Moloka’i, Hawaiian Islands.

The thrush was considered very common in the 19th century but its populations began to collapse due to deforestation and the unintentional introduction of avian malaria onto the islands and it is now extinct.

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edited: 17.11.2021

Myadestes myadestinus (Stejneger)

Large Kauai Thrush (Myadestes myadestinus)

The Large Kauai Thrush, known to the native Hawaiians as kāma’o, was described in 1887; as its name implies, it was endemic to the island of Kaua’i.

It was the largest member of its genus on the islands, and it inhabited its home together with another congeneric species, the Small Kauai Thrush, aka. puaiohi, (Myadestes palmeri (Rothschild)), which is still surviving until today.

The Large Kauai Thrush was considered very common at the beginning of the 1800s and was found throughout the island, however, the destruction of the island forests and the unintentional introduction of avian malaria onto the islands took their toll on the birds and their populations collapsed.

The last sighting took place in 1989 in the infamous Alaka’i Wilderness Preserve, which was the last fortress for a number of endemic bird species; and like so many other Hawaiian birds, also the kāma’o is now extinct.

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Photo: Hiart

(no copyright)

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edited: 17.11.2021

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.))

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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]

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References:

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

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

(public domain)

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edited: 29.11.2018

Turdus mareensis Layard & Tristram

Mare Island Thrush (Turdus mareensis)  

This species is still considered as a subspecies of the Island Thrush (Turdus poliocephalus Latham), an assessment, that, in a biogeographical view, makes absolutely no sense – hence I treat it as a distinct species.  

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The Mare Island Thrush inhabited the island of Maré, one of the New Caledonian Loyalty Islands.  

The birds were about 23 cm long, and, apart from the white-spotted undertail-coverts, almost completely blackish brown in color. They inhabited all of the forest types of the island, including those in the islands interior as well as those near beaches, and they fed on insects and small reptiles as well as on fruits.  

***

The Mare Island Thrush obviously died out after cats had been released on the island, an exact extinction date is not known, according to which source dates from 1875 to 1912 can be found.  

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References:  

[1] Dieter Luther: Die ausgestorbenen Vögel der Welt. Westarp Wissenschaften 1986 
[2] Peter Clement; Ren Hathaway: Thrushes. Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd 2000 
[3] David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press 2006 
[4] H. Douglass Pratt: Revisiting species and subspecies of island birds for a better assessment of biodiversity. Ornithological Monographs 67: 79-89. 2010  

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

(public domain)  

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edited: 29.11.2018