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Books about the true Thrushes

The books are listed in order of publication date with the most recent at the top.


Family: Turdidae

UK thrushes

Common Blackbird
Turdus merula

Song Thrush
Turdus philomelos

Mistle Thrush
Turdus viscivorus

Turdus pilaris

Turdus iliacus

Ring Ouzel
Turdus torquatus

Rare UK visitors

Dusky Thrush
Turdus eunomus

Eye-browed Thrush
Turdus obscurus

Black-throated Thrush
Turdus atrogularis

Red-throated Thrush
Turdus ruficollis

Naumann's Thrush
Turdus naumanni

American Robin
Turdus migratorius

Rock Thrush
Monticola saxatilis

Blue Rock Thrush
Monticola solitarius

Swainson's Thrush
Catharus ustulatus

Gray-cheeked Thrush
Catharus minimus

Hermit Thrush
Catharus guttatus

Catharus fuscescens

Siberian Thrush
Geokichla sibirica

Varied Thrush
Ixoreus naevius

White's Thrush
Zoothera dauma

Wood Thrush
Hylocichla mustelina


There are approximately 160 species in the family Turdidae worldwide.


The taxonomy has been amended in recent years. Formerly the family was considered much larger. A number of species once considered to be members of the family, for example the European Robin, are now aligned with Chats and considered to be part of the Muscicapidae family.


The Seasons of the Robin

Don Grussing

Mildred Wyatt-Wold Series in Ornithology

University of Texas Press


"In The Seasons of the Robin, Don Grussing tells the uncommon life story of one of the most common birds, the North American Robin. Written as fiction to capture the high drama that goes on unnoticed right outside our windows, the book follows a young male robin through the first year of life. From his perspective, we experience many common episodes of a bird's life-struggling to get out of the egg; awkwardly attempting to master flight; learning to avoid predators; migrating for the first time; returning home; establishing a territory; finding a mate; and beginning the cycle again. This creative approach of presenting natural history through a fictional, yet factually based, story allows us to experience the spine-tingling, nerve-wracking, adrenaline-flowing excitement that is so much a part of the life of every wild thing. As Don Grussing concludes in his preface, Once you experience the world through a robin's eyes, I hope you'll look at every wild thing with new appreciation and respect for what they accomplish by living."

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Nocturnal Migration of Thrushes in the Eastern Baltic Region

Casimir Bloshakov, Mecislovas Zalakevicius, Saulius Švazas

Oiseaux Migrateurs du Palearctique Occidental


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Peter Clement

Illustrations: Ren Hathway

Additional illustrations: Clive Byers and Jan Wilczur

Princeton University Press


"This is the first book in nearly one hundred years that is solely devoted to thrushes, one of the most widespread and well-known families of birds in the world. It treats comprehensively the world's 162 species of true thrushes and covers some of the best-known garden species as well as some of the rarest and most elusive of all birds. It also includes some of the most musically accomplished singers of any bird family. The book contains a wealth of detailed information on identification and distribution, with a full description of each species, including reference to all recognized races. Emphasis is given to vocalizations-often the key to identifying thrush species. Habitat and range for all species, together with information on movements and breeding behavior, are also covered. For the first time, all species in the family of Turdidae thrushes are described and illustrated in full color. These superb illustrations are complemented by line drawings depicting particular aspects of shape or plumage. The 60 color plates comprise approximately 540 images, covering all but one, long-extinct species. The depictions differentiate adults, immatures, and most of the distinctive races. The plates are accompanied by color maps showing the breeding and wintering range for each species. The detailed and accurate text and spectacular color illustrations will make this book indispensable to all ornithologists and birders. This will be, undoubtedly, the standard work on thrushes for many years to come."

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Peter Clement

Illustrations: Ren Hathway

Christopher Helm


Covers the 162 species in the family Turdidae. Includes 60 colour plates which show all species with immature birds and distinct races. Additional line drawings highlight aspects of shape or plumage. Colour distribution maps show the breeding and wintering range for each species. The text includes information about identification, geographical variation, voice, status and distribution, movements, habitat, behavior, and measurements for all species.

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The American Robin

Roland H. Wauer

Corrie Herring Hooks Series

University of Texas Press


"In this book, Roland Wauer offers a complete natural history of the American Robin for a popular audience. Combining his own observations as a field naturalist with data gleaned from the scientific literature, he describes the American Robin from every angle - appearance and biology, distribution, behavior, life cycle, and enemies and threats. In addition, he explores the legends and lore surrounding robins ("Whoever kills a robin redbreast will never have good luck were they to live a thousand years") and offers suggestions for attracting robins to your yard with favorite foods, water, landscape plantings, and nesting places. One of the few native North American birds that has benefited from human development, the American Robin has always appeared wherever a farmer broke up the hard prairie sod or a city offered suburban neighborhoods, parks, gardens, and orchards. For everyone who wants to learn more about this most adaptable and friendly bird, The American Robin is the perfect place to start."

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Ring Ouzel: Upland Bird Management Guidelines


Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group


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Ring Ouzels of the Yorkshire Dales

Ian Appleyard

Maney Publishing


A study of the Ring Ouzel based on 15 years research in the Yorkshire Dales. Includes 80 colour photographs by the author.

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The Fieldfare

David Norman

Illustrations: Norman Arlott

Hamlyn Species Guides



A study of fieldfare distribution, behaviour and life style.

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The Song Thrush

Eric Simms

Shire Natural History


A study of the Song Thrush in Britain. Provides information on vocalisation, habitats, feeding, courtship and breeding cycle, roosting ands migrations and movements.

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The Blackbird

David W. Snow

Shire Natural History


This book describes in detail the life and times of the blackbird including information on identification, breeding, populations, longevity and mortality, and its relationship with Man.

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British Thrushes

Eric Simms


New Naturalist Series 63


A 300 page study of British thrushes. Includes black and white photographs, sketches, charts and maps.

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Population Characteristics and Nomenclature of the Hermit Thrush

John W. Aldrich

Proceedings of the United States National Museum Volume 124 No. 3637

Smithsonian Institution Press


Opening lines: "My interest in the geographical variation in the hermit thrush, Catharus (=Hylocichla) guttatus, was aroused while investigating marked differences among populations of the Pacific Northwest (Jewett, Taylor, Shaw, and Aldrich, 1953). Since that time I have examined specimens from the entire range of the species that seem to give a somewhat different picture of the subspecific relationships from that of my previous arrangement as well as from that of the most recent previous revision (Phillips, 1962) and such recent standard manuals as "American Ornithologists' Union" (1957) and Ripley (1964)."

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Bird Study, Volume 7, Issue 2


Main articles:

  • The Development of Young Snipe Studied by Mist-Netting - Kenneth Williamson
  • A Survey of the Slavonian Grebe at Myvatn, Iceland - H. J. Clase, F. Cooke, T. A. Hill & W. J. Roff
  • Common Gull Movements Shown Ringing Returns - Mrs. M. C. Radford M.D.
  • Nest Records of the Yellowhammer - D. B. Peakall
  • The Origin of Winter Visitors to the British Isles 5. Redwing (Turdus musicus) - M. J. Goodacre
  • The Origin of Winter Visitors to the British Isles 6. Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) - M. J. Goodacre
  • The Origin of Winter Visitors to the British Isles 7. Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) - M. J. Goodacre

A Study Of The Blackbird

David W. Snow

Illustrations: Robert Gillmor

Allen & Unwin (1958) / British Museum (1989)


Classic study of a community of blackbirds in the Botanic Garden in Oxford. The 1989 revised edition included a new preface and a postscript to the text which also includes additions to the bibliography.

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The Blackbird: A Contribution to the study of a Single Avian Species

A. F. C. Hillstead

Faber and Faber


A 100 page monograph on the Blackbird with black and white photographs. Subjects covered include; song, territory, nesting, display and courtship, food, migration and plumage.

A Monograph Of The Turdidae, Or, Family Of Thrushes

Henry Seebohm

Edited and completed after the author's death by R. Bowdler Sharpe

Illustrations: J.G. Keulemans and possibly others

Henry Southeran & Co


From the introduction:

"In the present work I trust that I have carried out the intentions of my friend, the late Mr. Henry Seebohm, when he conceived the idea of writing a 'Monograph of the Turdidae, or Family of Thrushes.' Shortly after the completion of the fifth volume of the 'Catalogue of Birds,' Mr. Seebohm made preparations to publish a Monograph of the Thrushes, a group of birds of which at that time he had a profound knowledge, and until his death in 1895 he continued to employ Mr. Keulemans in drawing the Plates for the book which he intended to issue. Nearly all the Plates which illustrate the present volumes were prepared during Mr. Seebohm's lifetime, and were coloured in anticipation of their speedy publication. Several have been since added by the Publishers in order to bring the work up to date."
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Catalogue Of The Passeriformes or Perching Birds In The Collection Of The British Museum

Cichlomorphae: Part II, containing the family Turdidae (Warblers and Thrushes)

Catalogue Of The Birds In The British Museum, Volume V

Henry Seebohm

18 colour plates: J.G. Keulemans (16), J. Smit (2)

Printed By Order Of The Trustees

Printed by Taylor & Francis



"The Fifth Volume of the 'Catalogue of the Birds in the British Museum' contains an account of all the species of Warblers and Thrushes known at present; it has been prepared by Mr. H. Seebohm, whose special acquaintance with this group of Birds is probably unequalled. The total number of species described amounts to 344, of which no less than 303 are in the British Museum; they are represented by 2560 examples. Of the principal donors we have to mention the author himself, Capt. Stackhouse Pinwill, F. DuCane Godman and 0. Salvin, Esqrs., Lieut.-Col. Irby, Lord Lilford, and Canon Tristram. The frequent occurrence on the following pages of the name of B. H. Hodgson, Esq., is a testimony of the lasting value of the collections which he deposited in the Museum nearly forty years ago."
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Characters of a supposed new Species of South-American Thrush

George N. Lawrence

Colour plate (Turdus brunneus): J.G. Keulemans

Ibis: Volume 20, Issue 1, pages 57


Opening lines:

"Turdus brunneus, sp. nov. The upper plumage is of a dark olive-brown, in some lights inclining to greenish; crown and sides of the head of a clearer brown; tail-feathers dark liver-brown, their shafts above are dark reddish brown, underneath they are whitish; quills dark brown on their inner webs, the outer the colour of the back; under wing-coverts pale cinnamon; chin and upper part of throat whitish, the centres of the feathers broadly marked with light brown; lower part of neck, breast, sides; and thighs of a light reddish brown; middle of abdomen and under tail-coverts whitish, the feathers of the latter edged with light brown; bill pale yellow; tarsi and toes light yellowish brown, claws yellow."
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Last updated September 2013