Red-legged Thrush (Turdus plumbeus)

Red-legged Thrush


The red-legged thrush (Turdus plumbeus) is a species of bird in the family Turdidae. Native to the Caribbean, it is found in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti) and Puerto Rico. It formerly occurred on the Swan Islands, Honduras, but was extirpated there. This large thrush measures 27 cm (11 in) and weighs approximately 75 g (2.6 oz), depending on subspecies. It is mainly bluish-grey above and lighter-grey below with a white and black throat with a striped appearance. The legs, bill and eye ring are bright orange-red. There is notable variation in plumage between the subspecies.

Distribution And Habitat

The Red-legged Thrush is a year-round resident throughout the Greater Antilles (except Jamaica), The Bahamas (Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998), the Cayman Islands (Raffaele and others 1998), and Dominica (Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998). In Puerto Rico, it is common and widespread on the main island (Oberle 2018, Raffaele 1989a) and a rare visitor on the island of Vieques (Gemmill 2015). This species inhabits woodlands and forests at all elevations (Raffaele and others 1998), as well as coffee plantations (Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998) and gardens (Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 520 records within 303 hexagons or 63 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 303 hexagons where this species was found, breeding was confirmed in 10 percent (31) of the hexagons, probable in 14 percent (42), and possible in 76 percent (229), while the species was also observed in an additional hexagon (<1 percent) but without evidence of breeding (see map). Red-legged Thrush distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. 227Red-legged Thrush/Zorzal Patirrojo

Red-legged Thrush Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Red-legged Thrush builds a bulky nest made of leaves, grass, and other material, usually placed up in a tree, but sometimes in a palm or on a stump (Raffaele and others 1998). Previously published reports indicate that it breeds from January to September, but breeding peaks from April to July (Raffaele and others 1998). Atlas results show that this species breeding season extends throughout the year, with the most breeding activity from March to June (see chart). Overall, the breeding activity peaks in April, and it mostly takes place in the subtropical moist forest life zone (see chart). Results show that this species breeds mostly within the subtropical moist forest life zone (63 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map), to a lesser extent in subtropical wet forest life zones (23 percent of the hexagons), and within subtropical dry and subtropical rain forest life zones as well (14 and <1 percent of the hexagons, respectively) (see table and map).


The global population size of the Red-legged Thrush has not been quantified. However, the population is suspected to be stable due to the lack of evidence for any declines and threats (BirdLife International 2016). It is currently listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2016). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Red- legged Thrush has a protected habitat of 13 percent or 967 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where this species is known to breed (7222 km2).