Backyard Birds

Orange-headed Ground Thrushes (Zoothera citrina)

The Orange-headed Ground Thrushes (Zoothera citrina) is a thrush that is common in well-wooded areas of India, China, and Southeast Asia. Most populations are resident. The species shows a preference for shady damp areas and can be quite secretive. They do not form flocks.

The race Zoothera citrina cyanotus is a resident in the hills of southern India and the Western Ghats. They have a white throat and two black stripes running below the eyes. This race is known locally as the White-throated Ground Thrush.


Males of this small thrush have uniform grey upperparts, and orange heads and underparts. Females and young birds are duller, with brown upperparts.

Diet / Feeding:

Orange-headed Thrushes are omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects, earthworms, and fruit.

Captive Diet:

Terry Gonsolvis  (a breeder located in Bristol, UK) feeds mainly on earthworms when young are in the nest; and out of the breeding season, the diet he provides consists of mealworms and minced morsels – which is a dog food with grated cheese.

Breeding / Nesting:

In their natural habitat, these ground thrushes nest in trees.

Captive Breeding:

Terry Gonsolvis recommends: “One very important factor is to separate the breeding pair of the breeding season otherwise the male could kill the female. The cock bird has a beautiful song and is a joy to watch.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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