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Ground Scraper Thrush

Ground Scraper Thrush
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-10-22
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger NP 2009
Theme(s): RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 1, Birds of South Africa 3 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-07-18 11:06
Viewed: 5127
Points: 76
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Ground Scraper Thrush / Psophocichla litsitsirupa

The Ground Scraper Thrush is the 24th in the series of the birds of the Kruger National Park, which I am currently sharing. I have searched the gallery and it seems that this is the 1st of this kind of bird on the site. Enjoy!

I have come to realise that so far, all the Thrushes I ever came across was extremely difficult to photograph, as they are very shy and cautious, just as the one I share with you today. We actually saw this one by accident as it was moving very cat-footed along the ground while we were photographing some other birds in the area. It is one of those birds where you can say now you see them and now you don't. After we spotted it, it moved away so swiftly that Loot did not even get the opportunity to capture it and the photo I am sharing here is the only one I could take. This was the first and only time we ever saw this lovely bird. I had to crop this photo quite considerably as the little bird was ±18m away from me. As Ivan Kruys (Argus) mentioned and as far as I could confirm, it is the 1st time this bird appears on TrekNature.

The Ground Scraper Thrush is found from Southern to Northern East Africa. Within South Africa it is absent from the far western and southern parts. The birds normally stay resident within an area, but some evidence of seasonal movement in surrounding areas has been recorded, with influxes late in the rainy season. Other sources suggest at least partial disappearance in winter.

It uses a variety of open woodlands, particularly where the under storey is poorly developed, and where bare patches are present. The composition of preferred woodland varies greatly with locality.

It is the most social of the thrushes, but is sometimes solitary or occurring in pairs, associating for much of the year in what appear to be family parties. They are generally shy in wild habitats but are bolder and more confiding in gardens. Ground Scraper Thrush does not interact much with other species.

They often run fast across open ground, stopping abruptly in an upright stance to flick its wings, displaying the conspicuous under wing markings. Sometimes only 1 wing is flicked. When disturbed it flies to a high perch in a tree. It forages on the ground, amid short grass in open spaces. It also uses freshly burnt or otherwise cleared ground, running and listening, scratching in a likely spot in leaf litter. It occasionally forages in the air above fires, hawking prey. Identified food items fed to nestlings include mulberries and a large earthworms and skinks. Adults eat harvester termites on the ground and flying termites, mole cricket grubs and dipteran's flies, grasshoppers, beetles, spiders, isopods and slugs. Piracy on other species has not been recorded but is itself pirated by the Fork-tailed Drongo.

They are monogamous and solitary when breeding. The nest is built by both sexes and resembles a cup of variable compositions. Nest material may vary from grass, rootlets, weeds, other vegetation and spider's webs, but is normally lined with feathers and can also be lined with leaves. Nests are often built close to those of Fork-tailed Drongo. Favoured nest sites are large tree forks, often in or adjacent to the main trunk, but also likes horizontal forks of rough-barked trees. Nest height is normally between 2-9m above ground. Laying may be delayed for up to 3 weeks after nest completion.

They normally lay 3-4 eggs. The eggs are ovate, pale creamy blue to greenish blue, blotched lilac, with numerous blotches and spots of red-brown towards the blunt end and are slightly glossy. Eggs are laid at 1 day intervals and incubation may begin after the first egg is laid because chicks hatched asynchronously within 1 brood. They hatch between 14-15 days. Development and care of young are taken care of by both parents. Nestlings are born naked and their first feathers erupt at around 4 days. The young are brooded and fed by both parents. Each adult visited the nest 1 at a time to feed the nestling. Apparently 3 of the adults observed had a 'favourite' chick, the other fed all chicks.

The fledging period is around 16 days. However, parental care may continue for 6 weeks more. A new brood is started soon after the previous one has fledged, sometimes only 10 days later, males may continue caring for fledglings. These may beg at the nest after the new brood has hatched. Parental devotion is strong and any human or animal venturing too close to the nest are physically attacked.

I hope you enjoy looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

horias, bahadir, PeterZ, Argus, nglen, jlinaresp, CatherineD, pnieuwoudt, jaycee, manyee, red45, Mamagolo2, cirano, maurydv, boreocypriensis, Noisette, livius, rommel, jlynx, meyerd, Dis. Ac., rousettus, brech has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-07-18 11:14]

Hi Anna\
What a great shot of this lovely little Ground Scraper Thrush!
Beautiful details and colors.
Wonderful capture!

Hello Anna,
Great composition and detail. Lovely pose.
TFS and regards,

Hi Anna, I like the picture very much especially considering it was very hard to take. Just one little remark - you've mistaken the latin name of the Groundscraper Thrush - it's not Turdoides jardineii (which is latin for Arrow-marked Babbler), but rather Psophocichla litsitsirupa.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-07-18 11:32]

Hello Anna,
All 24 bird photos of your Kruger trip are so beautiful. This one is also an excellent photo in very nice natural colours and very good sharpness. Unique that you could photograph this bird.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-07-18 11:49]

Hi Anna,when i open your pics i'm sure everytime to see a new and nice surprise...and this is another of that...i like a lot the black and white design of the plums,excellent sharpness also in this difficult light.Thanks for share,have a nice week,LUCIANO

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-07-18 11:55]

Hello Anna,
This is a fine shot of a species of thrush that must be new to TN!
The pose, POV and composition are superb and the sharpness and colours contribute to a fine portrait of the Ground Scraper Thrush.
This is great to view and thanks for sharing it!
Best regards,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2010-07-18 12:55]

Hi Anna. I have been away from TN for a while but i hope to be back full time soon. I hope the better half ( Loot ) is well and your self. Work has been busy so TN has had to wait.
Any way its good to see one of your fine pictures and this time a bird . This is the first time i have seen Ground Scraper Thrush . I like the way it holds its head and body as if to look out for danger. A good low POV with fine detail and natural looking colours. All with interesting notes. TFS.

Hello Anna,
Well done! ... apart from the usual limitations of a camera brige, this is a good photo and you exploit at the limit your Equipment! I like it!... Congratulations!
TFS, Regards, Jesús

Hello Anna,
Great capture of this pretty bird in a very pose pose. Very well done, specially with this shy bird. Have a nice week,

Hi Anna,

Beautiful photo of the Ground Scraper Thrush. A great pose - look like he is asking if you are done with the photo yet? I enjoy your series on the birds of KNP and I am looking forward to the next one!


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-07-18 16:16]

Hi Anna,

You were quick on the trigger and came through with a nice shot o this Thrush which I have never seen before. I love the pose - he seems to be standing at attention for you although apparently that was not the case. He looks like a proud and handsome bird with those wonderful dark feathers against the light ones and the yellow legs and beak. It's his attitude that I like best.


Hi Anna,
What a cute bird! It’s not much colourful but the design of the spots is great. The natural colours are amazing and give the picture his necessary real note for a profession wild life picture. The details and sharpness make it to a must have into my photo collection.

Many thanks for showing that picture!
I like it much!


  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2010-07-18 20:44]

Hello, Anna!
I have not been on TN for a while, and what a pleasant surprise, to see your rare bird in the gallery. : )
Congratulations on the first posting of this species.
It is very handsome with its spots and face markings.
Thanks for the detailed notes, as usual. : )
I always learn something from you.
TFS. : )

Well spotted and well taken. How cleverly it seems to blend in with the background. Isn't nature wonderful?
Once again, well done, Anna, you are building up quite a bird collection!

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2010-07-19 0:47]

Hello Anna!

Fantastic pose of this cute bird. I like natural, desert colours of thrush and sands around. Detailed and well composed photo.

hello Anna
beautiful bird with great details and nice pose
greeting lou

Hello Anna,
What a beautiful shot of this Ground Scraper Thrush. I like the colors and the spotted feathers. I'm sure it will also blend in well with it's surroundings when danger lurks about. You did very well taking this photo as I know they hardly ever stand still.
Very well done my friend and tfs.

  • Great 
  • cirano Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 997 W: 0 N: 944] (13609)
  • [2010-07-19 14:35]

Hello Anna,
What a lovely bird,great composition and excellent details.TFS.

Hi, Anna,
Another excellent capture of the birds of the Kruger National Park. Congratulations. Thanks for sharing it. Thanks also for the annotations.

Hallo Anna,
another very beautiful and interesting picture of birds from the Kruger National Park, you captured a great posture of this splendid bird on the ground, very good sharpness and beautiful natural colours.
Best regards

Ciao Anna, elegant bird in nice pose, fine details, excellent sharpness and wonderful natural colors, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

Hol Anna

Bonita imagen de este pájaro, perfecta nitidez y contrate.

Un saludo de Antonio

Hi Anna,

Incredible capture of this lovely thrush from wonderful vantage point with nice details and sharpness.
The composition alo great too.
TFS and have a nice night!


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-07-20 12:12]

Hello Anna,
This is a very beautiful and proud-looking Thrush! You were clever to creep up on it and to get such a very fine capture! Excellent sharpness and beautifully coloured plumage that stands out well against the background.
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

Hello Anna
congratulations for a new species on TN, i love the pose of this Ground Scraper Thrush, and also his beautiful plumage, great natural colored shot with fine details
TFS and have a good night

Hello Anna
nel parco Kruger c'č sempre qualcosa di nuovo da scoprire e farci ammirare e questo bellissimo uccello č una di queste. Ottima posa, anche particolare per i soliti uccelli che ho visto, e buon ritratto del piumaggio.

Hi Anna ,

As always great shot from you.
Lovely mood.
Very well done.

Kind regards

Hellow Anna,
A great shot for the bird books as it shows clearly its distinctive markings.Rather difficult scene to get with the small BG contrast, however this is a well presented photo.Rgards to all.
Still waiting for my cameras.

Hi Anna,

Lovely capture of this Thrush. Very neatly captured. Nice sharp image of the bird looking up. Though its down on the ground, still the image is taken from a nice angle. Very well done!


Siempre sorprendiéndonos con esas curisas especies. Supongo que haces las delicias de los ornitólogos y amantes de las aves Europeos por lo que veo en los comentarios. La pose del ave está muy bien conseguida, pero la luz hace que la nitidez de este trabajo sea algo justa.
Un abrazo Anna: Josep Ignasi.

HI Anna!
He's such a cute little bird! Awesome shot!

  • Great 
  • jlynx Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 87 W: 7 N: 46] (455)
  • [2010-07-22 14:02]

Hello Anna.
Beautiful, and above all proud of is the Ground Scraper Thrush. I like the composition of photos here - it is good that the bird gave so much space. In this way the picture gets a lot by showing the environment in which lives Ground Scraper Thrush. The bird is beautiful, and you show you almost all the details on its plumage.
Very pretty shot, good sharpness and colors.
Greetings from the storm Mosina,

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-07-23 0:30]

Hello Anna,

A very pleasant image of the Ground Scraper Thrush, good focus, detail and very natural colours. I like the pose too. TFS Best regards Siggi

Hi Anna,

a nice shot from this Ground Scraper Thrush with good low pov and details.
Fine colours.

Hi Anna,
what nice birds you got in Krueger Park! Superb, the attitude of the animal, head high up. Excellent composition, good light. Great explanatory note! I am always interested when it says somewhere that a given bird is monogamous: we (at the University of Fribourg) found out in monogamous Reed buntings by molecular biology means that 70% of the females had young in their nests from more than one male. What is more, the extra-pair young had a better chance of survival than the intra-pair young: Infidelity driven by selection!

I try to analyze why the picture is grainy: I think you had to crop and to sharpen in PP, maybe you did a little too much of the good things. I know you use a compact camera with an excellent lens, that is not where the problem lies (except that viewfinders are so limiting, I know for myself).

Greetings from rainy Switzerland

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-07-24 3:59]

Hello Anna,
very nice and exciting pose of the thrush. The pattern and the features are well shown in good sharpness and clarity.
I like the splashes of the black on the breast.
A good capture and you froze the capture very well.


hello Anna
Ground Scraper Thrush is a very beautiful passerine bird and it is similar to relatives here. Spotted venter shows it very pretty. You nicely captured it on ground, with nice details, POV and vertical composition. light using also very nice as like your informative notes as always.
Thanks for sharing, best regards to you and Loot.

Love your bird's images from the Kruger Park region, Anna....I really do! The Ground Scraper Thrush you have presented here is a remarkable little bird with so fine and soft plumage. I had a chance last year to take a shot of this species North of Johannesburg in a game Lodge. Please, have a look this image here if you are interested: http://www.treknature.com/viewphotos.php?l=3&p=253420
Good natural surrounding, perfect point of view, pose and fine colors indeed!
George Veltchev

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