Tag Archives: Turdus

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

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

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]

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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

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.  

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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