Yemen thrush (Turdus menachensis)

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Yemen thrush on branch
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Yemen thrush fact file

Yemen thrush description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyTurdidae
GenusTurdus (1)

The Yemen thrush is a medium-sized, rather plain, brown bird (3). The male is olive-brown above, paler and greyer below, with dark narrow streaks radiating across the buff-grey chin and throat onto the breast (2). The stout bill is orange-yellow, the legs are flesh-coloured to yellow and, in flight, the orange underwing-coverts become visible (2) (3). The female is very similar but paler overall, being buff below, often with dark shaft streaks on the belly and flanks, and with a duller-coloured bill (2).

Size
Size: 23 cm (2)
Weight
72 – 79 g (2)
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Yemen thrush biology

The Yemen thrush breeds from March to August, with the nest positioned one to four metres above ground in a bush or tree-fork, usually in dense cover (2) (3). The nest consists of a firm cup made of dry grass, small twigs, moss and thin bark strips, with a mud interior lined with fine grass and rootlets, into which one to three eggs (usually two) are laid (2).

This small forest bird forages on the ground among dead and rotting vegetation, feeding on terrestrial invertebrates such as snails, and on fruits such as those of Rosa, Juniperus, Olea and Ficus species (2).

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Yemen thrush range

Native to south-western Saudi Arabia and western Yemen (2).

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Yemen thrush habitat

Confined to mountainous areas with a dense cover of native trees and shrubs including woodlands, thickets, copses, orchards and large gardens, although adjacent open areas are also frequented (2) (3). This species occurs from 1,200 to 3,100 m above sea level, mainly above 1,700 m, and at its lowest elevations it is restricted to thick vegetation along watercourses (2).

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Yemen thrush status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2006 (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

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Yemen thrush threats

Yemen thrush populations are thought to be small and declining, largely as a result of clearance and excessive exploitation of its montane woodland habitats (2). Trees and shrubs are being lopped and cut for fuel, fodder and building materials at unsustainable levels in much of Yemen, where the human population is expanding rapidly (2) (3). At lower elevations, the abandonment of wooded agricultural terraces is leading to massive loss of topsoil and further loss of wooded cover (2) (3). Loss of well-wooded land to building, infrastructural and agricultural developments may also be a threat in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, high levels of grazing and browsing by livestock mean a lack of tree and woodland regeneration at many sites (3).

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Yemen thrush conservation

A good network of traditional reserves (mahjur) exists in south-west Arabia, where trees and ground plant cover are protected from excessive exploitation in order to provide livestock fodder in times of drought (2) (3). However, the management of these areas has been widely neglected since the advent of more convenient supplies of supplemental feed (2) (3). Thankfully, the Yemen thrush and its woodland habitat are protected in at least two protected areas in Saudi Arabia: Raydah Reserve and Asir National Park (2) (3).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

For more information on the Yemen thrush see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Coverts
Small feathers concealing the bases of larger primary feathers, usually on the wings or tail.
Flanks
The sides of the body between the ribs and the hips.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2006)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2005) Handbook of the Birds of the World – Cuckoo-Shrikes To Thrushes. Vol. 10. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. BirdLife International (November, 2006)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=6385&m=0
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Image credit

Yemen thrush on branch  
Yemen thrush on branch

© Paul Brough / www.photoshot.com

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