Subfamily TURDINA

The Turdinae comprise the true Thrushes. These differ chiefly from the Saxicolinae and Ruticillinae in being of larger size, in having a greater tendency to be gregarious, and in being less dependent on insects for their food—berries forming a considerable portion of their diet during winter.

The Thrushes are mostly migratory ; some few are resident, and when this is the case they are generally confined to limited areas. The majority undergo a seasonal change of plumage through the margins of the feathers dropping off; but these changes are never very striking, and frequently hardly appreciable. The Thrushes feed a great deal on the ground, and their long tarsi enable them to hop with great facility ; they are good songsters ; they mostly build cup-shaped nests in trees, and they lay spotted eggs.

The Turdina; resemble each other closely in structure, and it is by no means easy to divide them into genera. I have had recourse to the type of coloration in subdividing them, and I have found the colour of the under wing-coverts and axillaries of considerable importance in classification.

The young of the Thrushes are greatly spotted, and they acquire the adult plumage at the first autumn moult. I have not attempted to describe the young of each species, as, from the nature of the coloration, the descriptions, to be of any utility, must of necessity be somewhat lengthy, and space does not permit of this; and it may be doubted if any description of young Thrushes, however elaborate, would enable the student to identify the species.

Key to the Genera.

a. Bill narrow ; breadth at forehead not more than half length of culmen; rictal bristles well developed.
a1. Sexes different in coloration.
a2. Axillaries and under wing-coverts in both sexes uniformly of one colour or
very nearly so; lower plumage never blue nor chestnut combined with black
or blue……………………MERULA, p. 121.
b2. Axillaries and under wing-coverts in both sexes of two colours in strong
contrast; arrangement of colours in axillaries transposed in under wing-coverts……………………GEOCICHLA, p. 136
c2. Axillaries and under wing-coverts in males of one colour, in females more or less barred with two colours; lower plumage of males wholly blue, or chest¬nut combined with blue or black, in females squamated.
a3. Tail very much longer than half wing……………………PETROPHILA, p. 142.
b3. Tail about equal to half wing……………………MONTICOLA, p. 147.
b1. Sexes alike in coloration.
d2. Axillaries and under wing-coverts entirely of one colour……………………TURDUS, p. 148.
e. Axillaries and under wing-coverts of two colours; arrangement of colours in axillaries transposed in under wing-coverts.
c3, Lower plumage distinctly barred or spotted; rictal bristles few and lateral ……………………OREOCINCLA, p. 151.
d3. Lower plumage squamated; rectal bristles numerous, and anterior ones projecting forwards over nostrils……………………ZOOTHERA, p, 156.
b. Bill broad ; breadth at forehead more than half length of culmen ; rictal bristles obsolete……………………COCHOA, p. 158.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Reference: 
OATES EW. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.2 1890.
Title in Book: 
Subfamily TURDINA
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates, Edited by William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1890
Page No: 
120
Volume: 
Vol. 2
id: 
912

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