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Groundscraper Thrush - BirdForum Opus

P. l. pauciguttata
Photo by Max Holdt
Windhoek, Namibia, January 2005
Psophocichla litsipsirupa

Turdus litsipsirupa


Length 22-24 cm (8½-9½ in); mass 71-84 g. A thrush of open habitats with an upright stance and shortish tail.

Upper parts pale grey-brown; bold black-and-white face markings; underparts white or off-white with distinct black teardrop spots.

Similar species

The Spotted Ground-Thrush differs in being a forest thrush with two bold wing-bars, a longer tail and a more horizontal stance. The Song Thrush also has a longer tail and a more horizontal stance, and has brown ear-coverts.

P. l. simensis
Photo by Solomon
Degra, Segeneiti, Eritrea, December 2005


Southern and eastern Africa
Western Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola
Eastern Africa: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland


This species seems to be the closest relative of the Turdus thrushes.


Four subspecies are recognized:1,2

  • P. l. litsipsirupa
  • P. l. pauciguttata
  • P. l. stierlingi
  • P. l. simensis


Open woodland, savanna and montane grassland.


Forages on the ground in short grass, burnt grass or on bare soil; eats invertebrates.


Monogamous; co-operative breeding recorded. The nest is a cup of plant material built in a tree, 2-9 m above the ground. Two to four eggs are laid and incubated for 14-15 days by both sexes. Parasitised by African Cuckoo.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533
  3. Sinclair, I and P Ryan. 2003. Birds of Africa South of the Sahara. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691118154

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