Friday, July 31, 2015

Bassian Thrush - Master of Camouflage

This bird is a rather a cosmopolitan species with countries like Siberia, India, China, Japan, Indonesia, and plenty more being mentioned in its distribution notes. Consequently it has several common names – Scaly Thrush, Ground Thrush, White’s Thrush, etc - but I’ve always known it as the Bassian Thrush.

I came across this one yesterday in the Bunyip State Park. It dashed across the road in front of the ute, and then sat motionless while I reached for the camera from the back seat. It took several seconds to set the camera, lower the window and point to the subject … which had disappeared! 

I almost gave up and moved on, thinking the bird had reached the cover of the roadside understorey.  Just then, it hopped a short distance and started picking up tasty morsels in the leaf litter, giving me the chance to zero in again.

Each time I took my eye away from the viewfinder the bird would just merge into the background and I had to scan the area again to find it, or wait for it to move again.

The Bassian Thrush is not uncommon apparently but the combination of its preferred habitat of dense brush and scrub, its tendency to call very little for most of the year and of course that marvelous camouflage, make it a seldom seen species. I was just lucky and didn’t even have to exit the ute!


  1. Nicely done.They are beautiful birds.

  2. G'day Gouldiae

    I think the forces of evil (aka taxonomists) have defeated you. Back in the good old days birds considered to be of this species used to be found from Tassie to Siberia. However they have now been split and the Bassian Thrush is only found in Australia.

    Of course it is always possible that some future taxonomist will be short of a topic for a Journal article and reunite them!

    Best regards