Orange ground thrush

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Orange ground thrush
Orange Ground-Thrush 2008 09 14 07 07 15 1026.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Turdidae
Genus: Geokichla
G. gurneyi
Binomial name
Geokichla gurneyi
(Hartlaub, 1864)

Zoothera gurneyi
Turdus gurneyi

The orange ground thrush (Geokichla gurneyi) is a species of bird in the family Turdidae.


Illustration by Joseph Wolf

The orange ground thrush was described as Turdus gurneyi by Hartlaub in 1864.[2] It is named after John Henry Gurney Sr., an English banker, politician and ornithologist.[3] There are five subspecies: G. g. chuka found in central Kenya; G. g. raineyi found in southeastern Kenya; G. g. otomitra found in western Angola, southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and northern Malawi; G. g. gurneyi found in eastern South Africa; and G. g. disruptans found in central Malawi to northeastern South Africa.[4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Its habitat is montane forests,[2] namely the afromontane of southeastern Africa. The size of its range is estimated at 5,370,000 km2 (2,070,000 sq mi).[1] It is found at elevations of 500–2,500 m (1,600–8,200 ft).[1]


Its length is 21–23 cm (8.3–9.1 in). The male weighs 44.5–64.5 g (1.57–2.28 oz), and the female weighs 48.5–76 g (1.71–2.68 oz).[2] The upperparts are olive-brown; some parts have a grey tinge.[2] The flight feathers are blackish-brown. There are two bars on the wing.[2] The throat, breast and flanks are orange. The vent is white. There is an incomplete white eye-ring.[2] The beak is dark.[5] The legs are pink.[2] The female is similar to the male but is less bright.[2] The immature has mottled underparts.[5]


The orange ground thrush is crepuscular.[2] It is sedentary, but makes altitudinal movements in some regions.[6] Its call is tsip and cureek. Its song is a series of several mellow and melodious notes.[2] It feeds on the ground. Its diet is earthworms, insects, molluscs and fruits.[2] The breeding season is January to May in Kenya, August to December in Tanzania, October to January in Malawi, and September to December in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.[2] In breeding pairs, the female has been observed to consistently weigh more than the male.[2] The nest is a deep cup built of moss, twigs, leaves, roots and ferns.[2] There are 2 to 3 turquoise-blue eggs.[2] The eggs are incubated for 15 days. The fledging period is 18 to 20 days.[2]


Its population size is not known.[1] Its population is declining because of habitat loss. The IUCN Red List has listed the species as least concern because it has a large range and its population is not declining quickly enough for it to be considered vulnerable.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e BirdLife International (2016). "Geokichla gurneyi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22708426A94160088. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22708426A94160088.en.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Clement, Peter; Hathway, Ren (2010). Thrushes. Bloomsbury. pp. 244–245. ISBN 9781408135419.
  3. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. Bloomsbury. p. 181. ISBN 9781408133262.
  4. ^ Gill, F.; Donsker, D. (eds.). "Thrushes". IOC World Bird List Version 6.4. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b Newman, Kenneth (2002). Newman's Birds of Southern Africa. Struik. p. 332. ISBN 9781868727353.
  6. ^ The Atlas of Southern African Birds (PDF). p. 159.