Bassian thrush

The Bassian thrush (Zoothera lunulata), also known as the olive-tailed thrush, is a medium-sized mostly insectivorous thrush found from northern Queensland to southeastern Australia; it also occurs in Tasmania, on some larger islands of Bass Strait, and on Kangaroo Island. The thrushes range from 27 to 29 cm (10.5 to 11.5 in) in length and average 100 g (3.5 oz).[2]

Bassian thrush
Bassian thrush.jpg
Bassian thrush at Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra, Australia
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Turdidae
Genus: Zoothera
Z. lunulata
Binomial name
Zoothera lunulata
(Latham, 1801)
  • Z. l. cuneata
  • Z. l. halmaturina
  • Z. l. lunulata
  • Z. l. macrorhyncha
  • Z. l. macrorhyncha
  • Z. l. papuensis

It is estimated that the rangewide population is large, though no official count has ever been established.[3]

The Bassian thrush lives in shrubland, forests, and rainforests.[4] It appears to be a resident species, but there is some evidence that some individuals have nomadic tendencies, usually in the non-breeding season.[5] Though affected by human destruction of its natural habitats, its range is so large that the impact is negligible.[3]

The thrush ranges in color from brown to an olive color, with a white ring around its eyes and black bars on its back, rear, and head. Its underbody is paler, with dark scalloping, and its wings have a dark bar running the length of the underside.[2]

Nesting begins in the winter months (from late June) and continues till the end of summer. The two or three eggs which form a clutch vary from pale green or blue to light stone. The cup-shaped nest is usually built of strips of bark, at times mixed with leaves, and is lined with grasses and rootlets. Sites vary from a few feet to 50 feet from ground. A fork in the tree is usually favoured, but the nest may be placed on the stump, or a ledge in a cave.[5]

Bassian thrush are known to dislodge their prey out of pile of leaves by disturbing the leaf litter.[6] The birds move quietly, but often pause, to listen for the movements of the insects.[5]



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Zoothera lunulata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Birds in Backyards: Bassian Thrush". Birdlife Australia. Archived from the original on 15 January 2020. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Species factsheet: Bassian Thrush Zoothera lunulata". BirdLife International. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Species Zoothera lunulata (Latham 1801): Bassian Thrush". Australian Government: Department of the Environment. Archived from the original on 29 July 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Hindwood, Keith (1977). Australian Birds In Colour. Reed (A.H.& A.W.). p. 66. ISBN 058907184X.
  6. ^ Burrows, Max (March 2017). "Fight or Flight" (PDF). Mornington Peninsula Birdlife. BirdLife Australia. 6 (1): 2.