Christopher Taylor Bird Nature Wildlife Mammal Photography
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Yellow-legged Thrush Picture

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The Yellow-legged Thrush (Platycichla flavipes) is a songbird of northern and eastern South America. In recent times, it is increasingly often placed in the genus Turdus again.

Description Adult female

This thrush is 8 in (22-23 cm) long and weighs 2-2 oz (55-70 g). Both sexes have a yellow legs and eyering. The male has a yellow bill and its plumage is usually black with a slate-grey back and lower underparts. However, the male of one of the five subspecies, P. f. xanthoscelus of Tobago, is all black, thereby resembling the male Eurasian Blackbird. Females have a dull bill, warm brown upperparts and paler underparts. The juvenile male is brownish with black wings and tail, while the juvenile female resemble the adult female, but is duller, flecked with orange above and spotted and barred with dark brown below.

The song of the male is musical phrases, sreep, sreee, sree, sreee, again somewhat resembling that of the Eurasian Blackbird, but sometimes including some imitation of other birds songs. The typical call is a sharp srip and a peculiar seeet given in alarm.

Distribution and ecology

It has a highly disjunct distribution; breeding in northern Colombia, Venezuela, western Guyana, far northern Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, with a separate population in eastern Brazil, eastern Paraguay and far northeastern Argentina. Last mentioned population is partially migratory, being resident in the northern part, while southernmost breeders spend the Austral winter further north. Some populations in northern South America also take part in local movements, but these are not well understood.

The habitat of this small thrush is rainforest, secondary woodland and overgrown plantations. It is mainly a species of highlands up to 2000 m. (6500 ft), but locally it occurs down to near sea level. The Yellow-legged Thrush mainly feeds in trees and bushes, infrequently on the ground, and mostly eats fruits and berries. It rarely if ever attends mixed-species feeding flocks, as its habit of keeping to the tree-tops makes it rarely worthwhile to join such conspicuous groups.

The nest is a lined shallow cup of twigs on a bank or amongst rocks. Two or three reddish-blotched green or blue eggs are laid.

It is fairly common in most of its range, and therefore listed as Least Concern by BirdLife International. However, the Yellow-legged Thrush is a shy species, and the female in particular is difficult to see, since she does not sing and has a cryptic coloration.


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