Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KĊŒKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

Song Thrush

Scientific name:

 Turdus philomelos



Conservation status:

 Introduced and naturalised

Mainland status:

 Common and widespread


 23cm, 70g 


 10.5 years possibly


 August - February


 Mixture of invertebrates and fruit

Thrush - photographer Dr Kerry RodgersIntroduced from Europe between 1862 and 1878, and now found throughout the mainland and offshore islands of New Zealand in gardens, orchards, parks, exotic plantations, scrub, hedgerows and regenerating native forest.

The upper parts are warm brown, the underparts buff-white with breast boldly spotted dark brown. The bill is yellowish brown with yellow gape, and the legs are pinkish brown. The male song is a loud string of repeated clear-cut musical phrases, each separated by a brief pause: ‘chitty-choo, chitty-choo, co-eee, co-eee….’  The alarm note is a rapidly repeated ‘chuk’ or ‘chip’ and the flight call is a thin high-pitched ‘seep’.

The song thrush feeds mostly on the ground, hopping and running then remaining motionless. They eat invertebrates such a snails (hammered open on a regularly used ‘anvil’), insects, worms, amphipods, millipedes and spiders and a variety of fruits from native and introduced shrubs and weeds. They cause damage to commercial crops such as berryfruits, grapes, pipfruit , stonefruit and tomatoes.

Song thrush, juvenile - photographer: Max McRaeBreeding takes place from August to February and 2–3 broods a year are raised. A substantial nest of twigs, grass, roots and moss, bound together with mud and smoothly lined with mud is built by the female in the fork of a shrub or hedge. The clutch of 2–6 clear greenish blue eggs with small black spots is incubated by the female for 12–13 days.  Both parents feed the chicks which fledge at 13–15 days old. The young remain with their parents and are occasionally fed for several more weeks.

Find out more about the song thrush at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by:  Dr Kerry Rodgers © (adult, right) and by Max McRae © (juvenile, left)
References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking.
Moon, G The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds.