; class Aves, order Passeriformes)
A family of small to medium birds, most of which are brown, grey, black, olive, blue, or white, usually contrasting. Some Turdus species (of which there are about 63) have black-spotted, white under-parts. Some of the 29 Zoothera species have spotted under-parts or wing bars and many have a distinctive, white, under-wing stripe. Most wheatears (18 species of Oenanthe) have distinctive white rumps, and black tails. Redstarts (11–13 species of Phoenicurus) have orange bellies, black throats, and black, blue, or grey heads and backs; females are duller brown but both sexes have distinctive orange-red tails and rumps. Turdids have medium-length, slender to stout bills, short and rounded to long and pointed wings, and short to long tails, some forked. Their legs are of medium length, and are ‘booted’ (have no scales). They are arboreal and terrestrial, inhabiting forests, open country, deserts, and cultivated land, and feed on animal and vegetable matter. They nest in trees and bushes, on the ground, or in tree holes or rock cavities. The 10–12 species of Monticola (rock thrushes) inhabit open, rocky areas, scrub, and dry forest, and nest in rock crevices. Luscinia megarhynchos (nightingale) is a secretive bird noted for its song (many or all of the 7–18 Luscinia species (bluethroats, nightingales, and rubythroats) are often placed in the genus Erithacus). Shortwings (six species of Brachypteryx) are robin-like birds with short wings and short tails, skulking in habit, and live in dense forest undergrowth. The 10 species of chats, of which many are migratory, comprise the genus Saxicola. Turdus merula (blackbird) and T. philomelos (song thrush) have been introduced to New Zealand which otherwise is the only part of the world from which Turdus species are absent. There are about 50 genera in the family, with about 312 species, found world-wide.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.