Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Scaly thrush

Binomial name: Zoothera dauma, John Aubrey Clarendon Latham, 1790

The scaly thrush (Zoothera dauma) is a member of the thrush family Turdidae.

Distribution and habitat

It breeds in wet coniferous taiga, mainly in the Himalayas through Malaysia.


The sexes are similar, 27–31 cm long, with black scaling on a paler white or yellowish background. The most striking identification feature in flight is the black band on the white underwings, a feature shared with Siberian thrush. The male has a song which is a loud, far-carrying mechanical whistle, with 5-10 second pauses between each one second long phrase twee...tuuu....tuuu....tuuu.


There are several races which are now often split into a varying number of separate species. Z. aurea (White's thrush), including the questionable subspecies Z. a. toratugumi, is the migratory Siberian and north-east Asian form. Z. neilgherriensis (Nilgiri thrush) is resident in the hills of southwest India. Z. imbricata (Sri Lanka thrush) is endemic to the hills of Sri Lanka and is particularly distinctive, being smaller, long-billed and rufous below. Z. d. dauma (scaly thrush) breeds in the Himalaya and migrates to the foothills in winter. Z. d. horsfieldi (Horsfield's thrush) is resident in Indonesia on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa. Z. major (Amami thrush) is restricted to the Amami Islands in Japan and is now considered a distinct species.

The taxonomy of this group is still in flux. Some of these subspecies are very similar and the identity of some populations, such as those on Taiwan, is uncertain.

The fawn-breasted thrush (Z. machiki) of Indonesia and the Bassian thrush (Z. lunulata) and russet-tailed thrush (Z. heinei) of Australia were also included in Z. dauma in the past.


The scaly thrush is very secretive, preferring dense cover. It nests in trees, laying three or four dull green eggs in a neat cup nest. It is omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects, earthworms and berries.

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Scientific classification

Zoothera dauma

Common names

  • English:
    • Eurasian scaly thrush
    • Scaly thrush
    • White's thrush


  • Geocichla horsfieldi

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Range Map

Distribution map of Scaly thrush, Zoothera dauma in Thailand
Range map of Zoothera dauma in Thailand