Re: Identity of Scaly/White's Thrush in Lamington National Park

To: Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Re: Identity of Scaly/White's Thrush in Lamington National Park
From: Paul Taylor <>
Date: Wed, 04 Mar 1998 08:08:44 +1100
> A British birder writes...I spent a fantastic day birding around O'
>  Reillys in Lamington National Park, Qld in late October 1995.  In
>  eight hours I was fortunate to see Noisy Pitta, Albert's Lyrebird,
>  Logrunner, Paradise Riflebird, Green Catbird...and a White's Thrush.
>  My field notes state: "Rufous rump, not much scaling, white on tail tip
>  extends up outer tail feathers, no pale eye ring".
> >From Simpson and Day (First Edition) this sounds like a description of
>  the race heinei yet on range I guess it should have been lunulata.
> Can anyone help out with a definitive view ?  What are the
>  White's/Scaly Thrushes found at Lamington?  Do both heinei and
>  lunulata occur?  And what is the current thinking on these 
> subspecies/species?

Hi Adrian,

Both the Bassian Thrush (Zoothera lunulata) and Russet-tailed Thrush
(Zoothera heinei) are found at Lamington National Park.  (They were split
since publication of your field guide.)  

In  "Birds of Lamington National Park and Environs - A Guide's Guide" by
Nielsen (1991) there is the following note:
  "The Ground-Thrush, always thought to be one species has, in recent
years, been
  separated into two species, both of which inhabit the rainforest of
  National Park.  It is very difficult to separate each species when seen
in the
  rainforest.  The Russet Ground-Thrush appears slightly leaner and has a
  colour on the rump when seen at close range.  In flight, the tail
  shows white edges.  However this is only obvious when the tail is fully
  The Australian Ground-Thrush appears as a slightly plump bird and has an 
  olive-brown rump.  In flight there is almost no white on the sides of the

It goes on to say that the Bassian Thrush is found at higher altitudes down
about 850 metres (e.g. along the Main Border Track) while the Russet-tailed
found at altitudes up to 1000 metres ("anywhere in the rainforest close to
O'Reilly's Guest House or Binna Burra Lodge, especially by roadsides during
early morning and before dusk.")  The status for the Bassian is listed as
small numbers", while the Russet-tailed is "common in spring and summer"
"appears to leave most of its range during autumn, returning in early

I saw a Russet-tailed on the White Cave track near Binna Burra in late
August/early September 1996.  It looked similar to the Bassian that is
around Canberra, but was noticably more rufous coloured and the scale
on the rump looked fainter.  I didn't notice any difference around the eye.

Paul Taylor

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