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Thrushes and Chats: Turdidae

Physical Characteristics

Thrushes have a varied appearance among their vast number of species, though some basic characteristics are common to all. They average in size from about 5 to 13 inches (12 to 33 centimeters) and are categorized as small to medium in size. The smaller species are known as chats.

Birds of this family are known for their upright posture and bills that tend to be thin and have no curves with a very slight hook. Their wings are rounded, except for in the species that are true migrants, which have longer and more pointed wingtips out of necessity for their long flights. The outermost wings are usually very short. Their tails are generally not very long and often short with square tips.

Some adult species show no marked differences between the male and female. Others vary significantly. For example, blackbirds include males that are jet-black and females that are pale brown. On the other hand, male and female song thrushes are identical in appearance. Thrushes in general are woodland songbirds that do not have any pronounced ornamentation in terms of crests, ruffs, or other feathered features. The variety of colors among the species is often stunning with marked but subtle tones. The color can range from muted brown on top with a paler shade on the spotted underside, to those with red heads, gray rears and cheeks, to those with a variable blue and blue-gray with a deep orange to rusty-red underneath and on the tail. Some tropical varieties might be electric blue and white, as well as others that are a mixture of deep colors of orange, black, white, and gray with varying patterns that include spots and streaks of colors.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsThrushes and Chats: Turdidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Thrushes, Chats, And People - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE