Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Bassian Thrush
Zoothera lunulata
(Viewing 3 of 3 photos)

Bassian and Russet-tailed Thrushes are so similar in appearance that they are almost impossible to tell apart with certainty; that is until you hear them call because their songs are quite different. Much has been written about how to distinguish these two, shape, length of tail, how much white in the tail, fat or thin and so on, but in the dark shadows where they live most of the time , these features are very hard to assess. The recent completion of HANZAB (Handbook of Australian New Zealand and Antarctic Birds) has made available in great detail most of what is known about all of our birds. In this instance, a diagram on page 1833 of Vol. 7 shows one of the best clues yet on how to separate the two ground thrushes. Looks easy doesn't it from the photos below but a super view would be necessary in the field to see this character, especially on a moving bird, Fortunately, ground thrushes do stand still for quite long periods (several seconds!), one of the reasons they are so hard to detect against the litter on a forest floor.


Photo: 447201

447201 ... Bassian Thrush, nest and eggs, Minnamurra N.S.W.

Photo: 447202-D

447202-D ... A juvenile Bassian Thrush, subspecies cuneata, Mt Lewis, Queensland.

Photo: 447203-D

447203-D ... The pattern on this median secondary covert on the shoulder of the wing is diagnostic - see HANZAB vol. 7 page 1833.


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