18 May 2013

The Margate Dusky Thrush

Britain's ninth Dusky Thrush less than two hours drive was a little too much for me to resist today. The bird showed extremely well for two hours from 2 pm in Margate Cemetery, fly-catching from the tops of trees and very occasionally dropping down to the ground to feed.

There's some debate over whether this bird might be an integrade between Dusky and Naumann's Thrush Turdus naumanni (the two species hybridise where their ranges overlap). The bird did show much more rufous tones to some of the breast and flank spotting than I was expecting (although it was amazing how much this seemed to change in different lights), and perhaps less rufous in the wings than I was expecting as well, but in general the plumage pattern looks good for Dusky to me (although this is the first of either that I've seen so what do I know?) - with a typical Dusky facial pattern (I think the dark streaks on the throat help age this bird as a 1st summer female), a mainly dark brown tail, plenty of dark brownish to blackish spots below, especially around the upper breast, a double breast 'band', no obvious rufous in the tail and no rufous on the under-tail coverts.

I'll be digging out some references later to read up, but I suspect the variation within pure birds of both species as well as their integrades is poorly understood. The photos I've seen online of integrades so far look quite different to this bird. A beautiful and interesting bird regardless and a fantastic find by Steve Tomlinson. Some video can be seen here.


  1. Awesome photos Lee, I wish I had made an effort. I'm gutted

  2. Filthy Twitcher! Good record shots Lee!

  3. Best photos I've seen of it. Pity it didn't stick for me to go and pay a visit.