• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Island Thrush - BirdForum Opus

Stub.png This article is incomplete.
This article is missing one or more sections. You can help the BirdForum Opus by expanding it.

T. p. erebus
Photo © by djringer
Kumul Lodge, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea October 2006
T. p. erythropleurus
Photo © by peterday
Christmas Island, February 2023
Turdus poliocephalus


17–25 cm; a very variable species

  • Yellow eyering, bill and legs
  • Brown to black upperparts


There are around 50 subspecies with varying plumage differences but almost all resemble a typical Turdus thrush with a yellow bill, eye-ring and legs. The Samoan subspecies T. p. samoensis is identical in appearance to the Blackbird (Turdus merula) whereas T. p. seebohmi of northern Borneo is dark above with a red breast and resembles the American Robin (Turdus migratorius). Some subspecies have an entirely white head (for example the male T. p. albifrons), and the Kadavu form T. p. ruficeps has an entirely orange head.


Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia (Borneo). See more details in subspecies list.


The Island Thrush is a member of the cosmopolitan genus Turdus (Linnaeus, 1758), one of the most widely distributed bird genera in the world.

The taxonomy of the Island Thrush is complex (Clements[1] recognises 51 subspecies), and has defied attempts to split the group based on the four suspected morphological types. However, it appears likely that future studies will result in this species being split.[2]
Taiwan Thrush was recently split from this species.


  • T. p. erythropleurus: Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)
  • T. p. loeseri: Mountains of northern Sumatra
  • T. p. indrapurae: Mountains of south-western Sumatra
  • T. p. biesenbachi: West Java (Mount Papandajan region)
  • T. p. javanicus: Central Java
  • T. p. fumidus: Western Java (Mount Gedeh region)
  • T. p. stresemanni: Western Java (Mount Lawoe region)
  • T. p. whiteheadi: Mountains of eastern Java
  • T. p. seebohmi: Northern Borneo (Mount Kinabalu and Trus Madi)
  • T. p. thomassoni: Mountains of northern Luzon (northern Philippines)
  • T. p. mayonensis: Mountains of southern Luzon (northern Philippines)
  • T. p. mindorensis: Mountains of Mindoro (Philippines)
  • T. p. nigrorum: Mountains of Negros (Philippines)
  • T. p. malindangensis: Southern Philippines (Mount Malindang region of north-western Mindanao)
  • T. p. katanglad: Southern Philippines (Mount Katanglad region of central Mindanao)
  • T. p. kelleri: Southern Philippines (Mount Apo and adjacent mountains of south-eastern Mindanao)
  • T. p. hygroscopus: South-central Sulawesi (Latimojong Mountains)
  • T. p. celebensis: South-western Sulawesi (Bonthain Peak and Wawa Kareng)
  • T. p. sukahujan: Taliabu (Sula Islands)
  • T. p. schlegelii: Eastern Lesser Sundas (Mount Mutis on western Timor)
  • T. p. sterlingi: Eastern Lesser Sundas (Mount Ramelan on eastern Timor)
  • T. p. deningeri: Soutern Moluccas (Mount Binaia on Seram)
  • T. p. versteegi: Western New Guinea (Jayawijaya Mountains)
  • T. p. erebus: New Guinea (Bismarck Mountains)
  • T. p. papuensis: Mountains of south-eastern New Guinea
  • T. p. canescens: Goodenough Island (D'Entrecasteaux Archipelago)
  • T. p. keysseri: North-eastern New Guinea (Saruwaged Mountains of Huon Peninsula)
  • T. p. bougainvillei: Bougainville (Solomon Islands)
  • T. p. tolokiwae: Tolokiwa Island (Bismarck Archipelago)
  • T. p. heinrothi: St. Matthias Island (Bismarck Archipelago)
  • T. p. sladeni: Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands)
  • T. p. rennellianus: Rennell (Solomon Islands)
  • T. p. kulambangrae: Kulambangra (Solomon Islands)
  • T. p. vanikorensis: Vanuatu (Vanikoro, Santa Cruz and Espíritu Santo)
  • T. p. whitneyi: Gau Island (Banks Group)
  • T. p. malekulae: Vanuatu (Pentecost, Malakulu and Ambrim)
  • T. p. becki: Vanuatu (Paama, Lopevi, Epi and Mai)
  • T. p. placens: Banks Group (Ureparapara and Vanua Lava)
  • T. p. efatensis: Vanuatu (Efate and Nguna)
  • T. p. albifrons: Erromango (Vanuatu)
  • T. p. pritzbueri: Loyalty Islands (Tanna and Lifu)
  • T. p. xanthopus: New Caledonia
  • T. p. mareensis: Maré (Loyalty Islands). Extinct.
  • T. p. poliocephalus: Norfolk Island Extinct
  • T. p. vinitinctus: Lord Howe Island Extinct
  • T. p. layardi: Fiji (Viti Levu, Ovalau, Yasawa and Koro)
  • T. p. ruficeps: Kadavu (Fiji)
  • T. p. vitiensis: Vanua Levu (Fiji)
  • T. p. hades: Ngau (Fiji)
  • T. p. tempesti: Taveuni (Fiji)
  • T. p. samoensis: Western Samoa (Savai'i and Upolu)


Woodland and forests



Their diet consists of snails, slugs, beetles, worms, larvae, spiders etc, also small fruits.


The nest is a well constructed cup well hidden in dense vegetation. The clutch consists of 1-3 eggs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Taxonomy thread in the forum.
  3. Wild Walks
  4. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1