Groundscraper thrush

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Groundscraper thrush
Psophocichla litsitsirupa (Etosha).jpg
Photographed at Etosha National Park, and calling at Dinokeng Game Reserve
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Turdidae
Genus: Turdus
T. litsitsirupa
Binomial name
Turdus litsitsirupa
(Smith, 1836)

Psophocichla litsitsirupa Cabanis, 1860
Psophocichla litsipsirupa[2]

The groundscraper thrush (Turdus litsitsirupa)[3] is a passerine bird of southern and eastern Africa belonging to the thrush family, Turdidae. It was previously considered the only member of the genus Psophocichla, but phylogenetic analysis supports it belonging in the genus Turdus, of which it is the most basal species.[4]

It is 22–24 centimetres (8.7–9.4 in) long with an erect posture, short tail, heavy bill and fairly long legs. The upperparts are plain grey-brown with a chestnut wing-panel. The underparts are white with black spots and the face is white with bold black markings. The underwing has a black and white pattern which is visible during the undulating flight. The bird has a slow whistled song and a clicking call.

There are three subspecies: T. l. litsitsirupa is the most southerly form, occurring from Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique south to northern and eastern parts of South Africa. T. l. pauciguttata is found in southern Angola, northern Namibia and north-west Botswana while T. l. stierlingae occurs in a band from northern Angola across to western Tanzania, Malawi and north-west Mozambique. It can be tame and will forage in parks, gardens and around picnic sites. The Ethiopian thrush (Turdus simensis) has sometimes been treated as a subspecies.[5][6]

The cup-shaped nest is built using vegetation and spider-webs and is lined with feathers or leaves. Three or four eggs are laid and are incubated for 14 to 15 days. They are bluish with lilac and red-brown spots and blotches.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2017) [amended version of 2017 assessment]. "Psophocichla litsitsirupa". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T103887337A118621409.
  2. ^ The specific name is often spelt litsipsirupa, however litsitsirupa is the correct spelling (Zoonomen, 2003). The name is of Tswana origin and is imitative of the bird's call.
  3. ^ taxonomy. "Taxonomy browser (Psophocichla litsitsirupa)".
  4. ^ "Thrushes – IOC World Bird List". Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  5. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (January 2023). "Thrushes". IOC World Bird List Version 13.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  6. ^ Kirwan, R.B.; Collar, N.; del Hoyo, J.; Boesman, P.F.D. (2022). Keeney, B.K. (ed.). "Ethiopian Thrush (Turdus simensis), version 1.0". Birds of the World. Ithaca, NY, USA: Cornell Lab of Ornithology. doi:10.2173/bow.grothr2.01.
  • Sinclair, Ian & Ryan, Peter (2003) Birds of Africa south of the Sahara, Struik, Cape Town.

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