The Orange-headed Thrush, Zoothera citrinus, is common across much of India and south-east Asia. It likes well wooded areas with a preference for shady gullies and damp areas.

It is usually resident, but this individual, which was seen in Hong Kong, is a winter visitor there. Most migration is altitudinal with the birds reaching as low as 250 metres above sea-level during winter.

Orange-headed Thrushes were not recorded in Hong Kong until 1956 and they are still very scarce. The former British colony’s Z.c. melli strain is one of as many as 12 races and shows a lighter face than many of the others.

To describe the back as grey makes it sound very drab, but in good light it takes on a bluish hue.

Informed literature bears out my experience that most birds are seen singly or in pairs. Outside of the breeding season a few birds may join together in a loose flock if the feeding is good.

One feature that I can find no mention of in any of the literature is the appearance of filaments on the nape of this bird. The resolution has been reduced for the blog, but in high-res, 2 or 3 dark filaments are visible.

This individual is a male. The female and juvenile are browner on the back, though a female may resemble the male with age.

A three-part trip report for Hong Kong including the Orange-headed Thrush and visiting Tai Mo Shan, Cheun Lung Family Walk, and Aberdeen Reservoirs, can be found on Redgannet.

If you liked this post and want to see more great images of birds make sure to check out 10,000 Clicks, our big (and growing) page of galleries here at 10,000 Birds.

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Written by Redgannet
Redgannet has been working for over 33 years as a crew member/flight attendant and enjoys the well-ventilated air of the outdoors. The nom de blog, Redgannet, was adopted to add an air of mystery and to make himself more attractive to women. His father first whetted Redguga's appetite for all things natural by buying him his first pair of 7x35s and a copy of Thorburn's Birds. Having no mentor beyond an indulgent parent, he spent the first season hoping for an Egyptian Vulture at the bird table in his English garden. His most memorable birding moment is seeing an Egyptian Vulture with those same binoculars 26 years later. Redgannet is married to Canon, but his heart and half of his house belongs to Helen and their son Joseph. He is looking forward to communicating with people who don't ask if he is searching for the "feathered variety" of bird.