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May-17-2010 18:46printcomments

The Unusual Song of the Zorzal

The archeopteryx demonstrates beautifully the adaptations that had to occur on a wide scale for birds to be so prevalent and differentiated in their vast variety of species.

Zorzal Patagonico
Zorzal Patagonico
Photos: Gail Parker for Salem-News.com

(PATAGONIA, Argentina) - Springtime in North America brings the unmistakable song of the robin as it graces lawns and budding trees triggering our memories of childhood.

Robins, black birds and thrushes, of the genus turdus (Latin for thrush), of the large family Turdidae, are medium sized song birds. They live near urban areas, on lawns and in gardens or at the forest's edge and are oftentimes seen on the ground.

Autstral Thrush, Zorzal Patagonico, Turdus falcklandii
24-25 cms. -9 ½ inches

Though they eat mostly worms and other invertebrates, they consume vast quantities of fruit, especially grapes and cherries. It is from this diet, I suppose, that they sometimes acquire a fungal disease that causes deformities of their beaks.

The beak and legs of the zorzal are a bright yellow and the brown eyes are encircled by a yellow ring.

A black head and tail, a striated black and white throat and beard contrast beautifully.

Its chest and belly are ochre, a light yellow brown color.

The back and wings are dark ochre with black wing tips.

The Austral Thrush is found all over Patagonia, and was first identified in the Islas Malvinas (Falklands) by the French taxonomists Quoy and Gaimard in 1824.

Their song is less than memorable, according to some experts, but to me they not only sound like a robin, but look like one with their floppy-winged, cartoon pose.

The austral thrush is a cheery winter friend in Patagonia and reminds me of Springtime in Oregon.

There is a recording of the Austral Thrush singing below on the audio bar, to hear more visit: xeno-canto.org

Sources:

  • Birds of South America and Antarctica, Martin de la Pena and Maurice Rumboll
  • Birds of Argentina and Uraguay Field Guide Tito Narosky and Dario Yzurieta
  • Manual ilustrado de las Aves de la Patagonia Antartida Argentina e Islas del Atlantico Sur Carlos Julio Kovacs, Ors Kovacs, Zsolt Kovacs y Carlos Mariano Kovacs
  • Wikipedia

=============================================

Gail Parker is a writer and photographer who lives in Argentina. She and her lifetime mate and husband Eddie Zawaski, who also writes for Salem-News.com, are former residents of Oregon, Gail has a great eye for memorable photos in this unique place called Patagonia. Her observations from this amazing wonderland of nature are a fun and welcome addition to our story flow.

Watch for Gail's wonderful coverage of the birds of Patagonia in future stories and photojournals here on Salem-News.com.


Audio

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©2017 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


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