Karoo Thrush, Turdus smithi, Johannesburg, South Africa

The Karoo Thrushes (Turdus smithi) – also known as Cabanis’ Thrushes – are southern African endemics.


Natural Range / Habitat

They were named for the preferred habitat – the arid Karoo shrublands. They are especially common in riverine Acacia stands and associated scrubby growth.

Their natural range extends extends from the Orange River basin of southern Namibia to southeastern Botswana, southwestern Transvaal and northern Cape Province.



The Karoo Thrushes measure about 24 cm in length and have a wing length between 117 and 131 mm. Their average weight is 86 grams.

They resemble their close relative – the Olive Thrushes – by have longer, entirely orange bills. The wings are longer and the flanks are greyer. The Karoo Thrushes were formerly considered a subspecies of the widespread Olive Thrush (Turdus olivaceus). These two species are known to hybridize.


Calls / Vocalizations

The male’s song consists of a mix of fluted, whistled and trilled phrases,


Alternate (Global) Names

Afrikaans: Geelbeklyster … Danish: Karoodrossel … Dutch: Karoolijster … French: Merle de Smith, Merle du Karroo, Merle du Namaqua, Merledu Namaqua German: Karoo-Drossel … Polish: drozd przyl?dkowy … Slovak: drozd búrsky … Swedish: Karootrast

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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