Content for this page researched and created by Kelsey Chabal
The red-legged thrush is a small, flighted bird that occupies many of the islands in the Gulf of Mexico. Its family, Turdidae, occupies much of the new world from the West Indies to Alaska (Bond). However, this particular species and all of its subspecies are endemic to much of the Carribean. It is classified as a species of “least concern” dues to its wide spread populations (Bird Life International).
The red-legged thrush (Turdus plumbeus) populates much of the West Indies, including much of the Greater Antilles, excluding Jamaica, and some the northern parts of the Bahamas, and a separate population in Dominica (Ricklefs). Although most birds have a high potential for wide spread populations (Avise), it is a non-migratory species, and prefers to walk or run rather than fly (Larson). Therefore many red-legged thrush populations are likely due to human introduction (Ricklefs).
Thrushes are a tree dwelling species that prefer varied foliage and terrain as it helps reduce predation (Parish) Tall trees with heavy undergrowth are the preferred habitats of red-legged thrushes (Rolle) (Emlen). Nest construction is also high off the ground, averaging at approximately 20 feet (Huey). Male thrushes have not been observed to aid in nest construction, however males are typically the pursuing sex in mating (Huey).
Its body feathers range from dark grey to a muted grey-blue, with small white markings underneath the beak (Neotropical Birds Online). Their most striking features are their bright red legs, bill, and eyering. Thrushes are fairly small; adults average only at 125mm (Rolle).
Males and females have similar plumage are are difficult to sex through visual observation (Pyle). There are no external differences between the sexes (Rolle). However, wing cords are useful in sexing; females typically have shorter wing chords (Pyle). Red-legged thrushes may be sexed by their calls; only males have been known to sing, though females make a variety of calls (Rolle). In regards to aging, red-legged thrushes can be aged by their eye color. Juveniles have brown eyes that develop into a reddish-brown as adults (Pyle).
Red-legged thrushs’ diet consists of mainly fruits and berries with some small insects (Neotropical Birds Online). The migration of North American birds can affect food sources, causing as much as a 45% increase in berry consumption (Leck). This typically causes the thrush to move to areas with higher vegetation (Parish).
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Parish, T., K. H. Lakhani, and T. H. Sparks. “Modelling the Relationship Between Bird Population Variables and Hedgerow, and Other Field Margin Attributes. II. Abundance of Individual Species and of Groups of Similar Species.” Journal of Applied Ecology (1995): 362-71. JSTOR. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.
Pyle, Peter et al. “Molt Patterns and Age and Sex Determination of Selected Southeastern Cuban Landbirds.” Journal of Field Ornithology. Vol. 75.2 (2004): 136-145. BioOne. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
Ricklefs, Robert E., and Eldredge Bermingham. “Likely Human Introduction Of The Red-Legged Thrush (Turdus Plumbeus ) To Dominica, West Indies.” The Auk 125.2 (2008): 299-303. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.
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Rolle, Francis J. “Life History of the Red-legged Thrush (Mimocichla Plumbea Ardosiacea) in Puerto Rico.” Studies on the Fauna of Curaçao and Other Caribbean Islands 14.1 (1963): 1-40. Naturalis. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.
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Flickr. Yahoo. 2010. Web. 3 Oct, 2015. <http://www.flickr.com/photos>
(Use via Creative Commons)
1. Red-Legged Thrush (West Cuban) (Turdus Plumbeus) (A. Hopkins)
2. Red-Legged Thrush (West Cuban) (Turdus Plumbeus) (2) (A. Hopkins)
3. Red-Legged Thrush (Billtacular)
4. Red-Legged Thrush (A. Lanzen)
5. Turdus Plumbeus (E. Chernetsova)
6. Red-Legged Thrush (J. Crotty)
7. CU12_0500a (J. Oldenettel)
8. Red-leggedThrush (Turdus plumbeus) (R. Knight)
9. Red-legged thrush/ turdus plumbeus (V. Patel)
10. Turdus Plumbus (V. Gracia)