Red-throated Thrush taxonomy

Identification and fascinating taxonomy

I will try to say this simply. I think we looked at some of Terry’s images before. Some may be new. They illustrate the issue. These are normally seen as 4 separate specs.

It would be a twitcher’s dream to se ALL FOUR SPECIES in Britain. They are East Asian megas! Well BOOM! I have seen 3 of the 4. I didn’t get for the Dusky Thrush. Hey.

Are they four separate specs? Birds showing the full set of characters seem ok? Sure. They might not be sure at all- indeed every time they might not be sure. That’s OK.

A bird that looks like a Dusky Thrush might be a Red-throated Thrush X Naumann’s with tad of Dusky.

Truth man. Truth.

Something amazing and complex goes on. Why? So they can survive.

What you see… is NOT what you get. how to go birding? Love it. Enjoy it. Hold it lightly.

What if Hooded Crows are entirely black in some areas and some Carion Crows are pied in plumage in others areas… but are still essentially Carrion Crows- adapting to survive.


Dark throated bbnnn (1 of 1) Dark throated bbnnn b (1 of 1) Dark throated bbnnn bn (1 of 1) Dark throated diff a (1 of 1)


and then … thsi type seems less common. A male with blackish feathers intersperssed in the red breast patch. Seemingly a visible indication of what is going on underneath. But bear in mind the bird above may be even less ‘pure’.

So ABOVE- pure looking

Below. not so PURE LOOKING

Dark throated hybird c (1 of 1) Dark throated hybird d (1 of 1) Dark throated hybird e (1 of 1) thrush 2 (1 of 1) thrush 3 (1 of 1) 2015-03-01 Red-throated x Black-throated intergrade adult male



if the is ‘Red-throated Thrush’ in this Naumann’s?

thrush 1 (1 of 1)


Naumann’s looking all wrong 🙂

Sooo – this one demonstrates some of the issues:


 I don’t know the details, but this bird seemed to have for a large part the DNA-signature of a Naumann’s Thrush.  Major point of discussion was that there was plenty of orangy/reddish going on in e.g. the wing and tail of this bird:


2 thoughts on “Red-throated Thrush taxonomy

  1. Benoit

    As far as I understand it, carrion and hooded crows have essentially the same genome except for the fraction controlling colors. So a black hooded crow is a carrion crow!

  2. Nial Moores

    Worth considering that together these four taxa have a huge range, with often well-separated breeding ranges and narrower suspected hybrid zones. None breed in E. China. There is even some separation across much of wintering range (e.g. only Dusky is regular in Japan). In E. Asia, the four taxa show a lot of individual variation in plumage. All four also give subtle but likely consistent differences in calls. Calls seem to match expected plumage time and again. Occasional odd-calling birds have looked odd, though. Can form mixed flocks, tho’ there are differences in typical habitat in winter in Naumann’s (usually damp forest and stream edge) and Dusky (often more open habitats, with flocks in rice-fields etc). In S. Korea, there is also some difference in migration timing in spring, with a well-separated peak in Naumann’s and Dusky, and a fairly short peak in obvious intergrades. Have no real opinion on whether all four are “good” species or not. Hardly a novel thought, but best to base such discussions on fuller information, esp. from the breeding grounds.


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