Endemic birds
Endemic bird

SPOTTED-WINGED THRUSH   Zoothera spiloptera
(Spot winged Ground Thrush)


Sinhalese - Pulli Wal Avichchiya
Tamil       - non recorded


Between a mynah and a bulbul in size. Identified by its olive-brown upper parts, two rows of white spots on the median and greater wing coverts, characteristic markings on the face and inverted fan shaped black spots on the breast and flanks. Sexes are similar. Young have paler streaked upper parts and buff lower parts with coalescing spots. The characteristic facial pattern is present in the young but is more indistinct.

 Not uncommon in damp, evergreen forest in the wet lowlands and ranging up to 2000 metres (commoner below 1500 metres). Also occurs in secondary scrub, plantations and occasionally gardens adjacent to forest. It is scarce and local in the dry zone occurring in riverine forests.

This is a terrestrial species which feeds mostly on the ground in the typical thrush manner, turning over leaves vigorously. Birds are often met with in the mornings and evenings feeding along jungle trails. This thrush has a quaint habit of perching on slight elevations or twigs on the ground. The Spotted-winged Thrush is a beautiful songster, singing with a variety of human sounding rich whistling notes. It also utters a thin, high pitched call when alarmed or as a warning to its mate. Food consists of insects, worms etc but the bird probably feeds on berries as well.

The species is double brooded. Nests are met with in March-April and again in August-November. The nest is generally placed in a low exposed fork of a sapling or small tree at a height from 4-8 feet within the forest. The nest looks like a mass of jungle debris collected in a fork comprising of dead and decaying leaves, stems etc with a small tolerably neat cup in the center lined with fine rootlets and leaf midribs. The rim is often finished with moss. Where moss is plentiful more of it is used in the construction of the nest.

The eggs are generally two in number. The ground colour varies from pale cream-buff to pale grey-green, profusely covered with small spots, blotches and streaks of light reddish brown all over with some underlying markings of lavender-pink. Both birds probably incubate and feed the young.   


Sinharaja and Kitulgala forest reserves are two locations where this species can be observed easily.


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