AMS405/223 Ground Thrush Click to enlarge image
Scanned in 2005 for the Birds in the Backyard website Image: Jack Purnell
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    lunulata
    Genus
    Zoothera
    Family
    Muscicapidae
    Order
    Passeriformes
    Class
    Aves
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    27 cm to 29 cm

If a Bassian Thrush is disturbed it often runs a short distance and then freezes, relying for defence on the camouflage of its mottled plumage against the leaf-litter of the forest floor.

Identification

The Bassian Thrush is a secretive bird. Its plumage is mottled brown to olive-brown, heavily scalloped with black crescent-shaped bars on the back, rump and head. The paler underparts all have brown-black scalloping. It has a white eye-ring. In flight the Bassian Thrush shows a broad dark diagonal bar across the white underside of its wing.

Habitat

Damp, densely forested areas and gullies are favoured by the Bassian Thrush, usually with a thick canopy overhead and leaf-litter below.

Distribution

The Bassian Thrush is found predominantly around the south-east of Australia, and also in the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland.



Seasonality

Resident, probably sedentary.

Feeding and diet

The Bassian Thrush feeds on the ground, scratching under the leaf-litter for small invertebrates.

Communication

The Bassian Thrush can be heard mainly at dawn or in dull weather, its song being three notes: the first steady, the second rising briefly, and the third steady.

Breeding behaviours

The Bassian Thrush builds a large, deep, cup-shaped nest in a major tree fork or in a depression on top of a stump. The nest may be quite low or up to about 15 m above the ground. Both parents care for the young.

  • Breeding season: June to February, also recorded in April
  • Clutch size: Two to three.
  • Incubation: 14 days
  • Time in nest: 14 days

Conservation status

The Bassian Thrush is adversely affected by clearing of densely vegetated habitats.

References

  • Morcombe, M. 2000. Field guide to Australian Birds. Steve Parish Publishing.
  • Flegg, J. 2002. Birds of Australia: Photographic Field Guide, 2nd Edition. Reed New Holland, Sydney.
  • Barrett, G., Silcocks, A., Barry, S., Cunningham, R. & Poulter, R. 2003. The New Atlas of Australian Birds. Birds Australia, Hawthorn East, Vic.
  • Higgins, P.J., Peter, J.M. and Cowling, S.J. (eds) 2006. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, Volume 7 (Dunnock to Starlings) Part B Oxford University Press. Melbourne.