Olive thrush

Turdus olivaceus

TAXONOMY

Turdus olivaceus Linnaeus, 1766, Cape of Good Hope. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: African thrush, West African thrush; French: Grive olivâtre; German: Kapdrossel; Spanish: Zorzal olivo.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

8.3-9.4 in (21-24 cm); 1.9-2.9 oz (54-81 g). Dull olive-brown upperparts and tail, with orange underparts and white vent. Throat is speckled white. Bill and legs are yellow-orange.

DISTRIBUTION

Africa, from Eritrea and Ethiopia discontinuously south to the Cape, west to Angola.

HABITAT

Upland and lowland forest, gardens, and hotel grounds. BEHAVIOR

Usually solitary, in trees or on ground beneath, foraging with steady, hopping or walking action, often close to buildings in parks and ornamental grounds.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Spiders, ants, termites, grasshoppers, millipedes, and other small invertebrates, various household scraps, and many fruits and berries.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nests almost throughout the year in some parts of its range; nest is large, untidy cup of leaves, grass, bark and roots, lined with mud, in tree fork, built by female; two to three eggs incubated mostly by female for 14-15 days; young fledge after 16 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Eurasian blackbird, common blackbird; French: Merle noir; German: Amsel; Spanish: Mirlo Comuun.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

9.4-11.4 in (24-29 cm); male 2.1-5.3 oz (60-149 g); female 3.0-3.7 oz (85-106 g). Males have black plumage and a yellow bill; females have brown plumage and a dark bill.

DISTRIBUTION

Europe from Iceland eastwards.

HABITAT

Mainly damp forest and woodlands, from tundra to golf courses, gardens, parks, and town shrubberies, farmland with hedges, and scattered woods.

BEHAVIOR

Bold and tame, feeding on ground where walks, hops, or runs; large roosts after breeding season. Flocks in winter.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Fruits, berries, grass seeds, many invertebrates including beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, snails, spiders, and earthworms.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Breeds April-August, nest large and untidy, of grass, twigs, stems, and string, lined with mud and fine grass. Three to four eggs, incubation 11-14 days, fledging 15-16 days. Two broods.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

Blackbird

Turdus merula

TAXONOMY

Turdus merula Linnaeus, 1758.

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