1. Home
  2. Fun Animal Facts
  3. Karoo Thrush: 15 Facts You Won't Believe!

Animals

Karoo Thrush: 15 Facts You Won't Believe!

Read ahead to find out some fascinating Karoo thrush facts such as their African habitat, breeding, and population size.

The Karoo thrush (Turdus smithi) is a species of birds that is endemic to parts of Africa such as southern Namibia and Cape Province. It belongs to the family Turdidae, which gets its popular name 'thrush' from their resemblance to turdids. Since the population of this bird species is so widely stretched, this African bird has quite a few common names such as Merle de Smith in French and Geelbeklyster in Afrikaans. These birds are omnivores and rummage through the ground in search of insects, and also do fairly well on various fruits in their habitat.

These birds have a dark gray or dark brown colored plumage and an orange colored abdomen, which gives them an adorable appearance. The karoo thrush bird was thought to be a subspecies of olive thrush species (Turdus olivaceus) which belongs to the same genus. The two species were later differentiated due to the difference in the color of their bills. The Karoo thrush's bill is thoroughly orange, while the olive thrush's bill has a black streak on it.  

The conservation status of the karoo thrush suggests that their population is stable and faces no threat in the near future so, you may as well plan a trip to Africa to witness them in their own habitat.

For more relatable content, check out these hermit thrush facts and wood thrush facts for kids.

Karoo Thrush Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Karoo thrush?

The Karoo thrush (Turdus smithi) is a bird that is endemic to south Africa which means that this species is native to only places within south Africa. They belong to the genus Turdus which largely contains all the species and subspecies of thrushes.

What class of animal does a Karoo thrush belong to?

Scientifically, the class that the Karoo thrush belongs to is that of Aves. In popular language, however, they belong to the class of birds.

How many Karoo thrushes are there in the world?

There are no conclusive studies that tell us the exact population of Karoo thrushes. However, their conservation status suggests that their population is not declining and that they are not facing any immediate threats.

Where does a Karoo thrush live?

Karoo thrush birds live in shrublands and flourishing gardens. They get their name from the place where they are mostly found in large numbers, karoo shrubland. In fact, they are not the only birds of the world that are named after their native land.

What is a Karoo thrush's habitat?

This species of thrushes lives predominantly in African regions. The range of their habitat includes places such as southern Botswana, southern Namibia, South Africa, Cape Province and Transvaal. In these regions, Karoo thrush birds thrive well which is clear from their ever-booming population.

Who do Karoo thrushes live with?

The Karoo thrush is amongst those birds of the world who do not like to live in colonies. This bird either lives alone or makes a nest with its mate.

How long does a Karoo thrush live?

The Karoo thrush species has a minimum lifespan of nine years. This is quite high compared to other species of small birds such as robins, which live for only about five years.

How do they reproduce?

The Karoo thrush (Turdus smithi) is an oviparous species, meaning they are egg-laying birds. The breeding season for this species starts in March and goes until the end of summer, during which, the female birds build nests. Cup-shaped nests are built out of damp twigs and other materials that they can find within their range map.

The female Karoo thrush lays around one to four eggs which it then incubates for 14 days. When the nestlings hatch out of their eggs, they are fed by their parents for quite a while. Baby Karoo thrush birds are able to leave the nests for flight only after about two months.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN, the conservation status of this species is of Least Concern. This means that the species and its population faces no threat of extinction in the near future. If you happen to search for a Karoo thrush (Turdus smithi) in South Africa, you will easily find one.

Karoo Thrush Fun Facts

What do Karoo thrushes look like?

Karoo thrushes are a small species of birds. Their entire population has the same features, irrespective of the bird's sex. These birds have dark brown or dark gray colored feathers, and a long tail. Karoo thrush wings are long which help them to be amazing flyers.

Their bill is completely orange which makes them stand apart from the olive thrush. They also have an orange colored abdomen and their flanks are of a stark gray color.

The French common name for the Karoo thrush is Merle de Smith.

How cute are they?

It is safe to say that its compact size, vibrant bill and long wings gives the Karoo thrush (Turdus smithi) the most adorable appearance. The closely related olive thrush (Turdus olivaceus) is also a pretty sight to behold.

How do they communicate?

The Karoo thrush has a rather beautiful call which it use to communicate with its mates. The high-pitched melody that the Karoo thrush sings is a typical feature of the family Turdidae.

How big is a Karoo thrush?

The Karoo thrush is about 9.44 in (24 cm) long and the Karoo thrush wingspan is 4.6-5.1 in (11.7-13.1 cm). Their size is roughly the same as an olive thrush.

To give better perspective, you will be fascinated to know that a Karoo thrush is at least three times smaller than a northern spotted owl.

How fast can a Karoo thrush fly?

There are no studies that can tell us the exact speed range of the Karoo thrush (Turdus smithi) or olive thrush (Turdus olivaceus) species, but their wingspan suggests they are amazing flyers.

How much does a Karoo thrush weigh?

The Karoo thrush weighs around 3.03 oz (86 g). Males and females are roughly the same weight.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for male and female Karoo thrushes. We will simply have to refer to them as a male Karoo thrush and a female Karoo thrush.

The only difference between the two sexes is that during the breeding season, March to October, it is the female bird that makes a nest for its mate and offsprings.

What would you call a baby Karoo thrush?

As is the case with other Aves, the baby Karoo thrush bird is called a nestling. It is also interesting to note that this species takes about two months to mature enough to be able to take flight.

What do they eat?

The Karoo thrush (Turdus smithi) is an omnivorous species. They feed on creatures such as termites, click beetles, worms and, small fishes. At the same time, they also feed on various kinds on fruits and vegetables that are available throughout the range of their habitat.

Are they dangerous?

This bird species is not dangerous at all. Karoo thrushes are fairly peaceful and even benefit from man-made structures such as gardens. The relationship they share with people within the range of their habitat is symbiotic, and allows no opening for anyone to be scared of this beautiful species.

Would they make a good pet?

It is tough to create an environment in which a Karoo thrush (Turdus smithi) would feel at home. The habitat of this bird calls for a large space where it can fly about and rummage the ground for insects to eat.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Karoo thrushes are also amongst the group solitary birds of the world which implies that they are territorial and wouldn't fare well when put in a cage with other birds.

Did you know...

For years, the Karoo thrush was understood to be a subspecies of the olive thrush (Turdus olivaceus). It is only recently that the two were distinguished and it was declared that our friendly little birds are not a subspecies.

There are many common names for the Karoo thrush (Turdus smithi) species such as Merle de Smith in French and Geelbeklyster in Afrikaans.

Where does the olive thrush nest?

The olive thrush (Turdus olivaceus), like the Karoo thrush (Turdus smithi), nests on tall, pronged trees. They either live alone or in pairs with their mates.

Does the Karoo thrush migrate?

The Karoo thrush (Turdus smithi) is not a migratory species. Africa, their native land, has a tropical climate through out the year which means that this bird species never feels the need to travel south for a warmer environment. However, they do move around the African continent.

Hence, the population of the Karoo thrush (Turdus smithi) species that you may find in Africa at any given point in time is stable.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our Cooper's hawk facts and common raven facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Karoo thrush coloring pages.

Subscribe_Hero
Get The Kidadl Newsletter
1,000's of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.

EXPLORE KIDADL
In need of more inspiration?