Any of numerous species of songbirds belonging to several families. Thrushes usually have a slender bill and “booted” lower legs (i.e., covered in front with one long scale instead of many short ones) and range from 5 to 12 in. (13 to 30 cm) long. Most have dull plumage, often with patches of bright yellow, red, or blue. They are found virtually worldwide but are most diverse in the Old World, especially in Africa. The northern species are strong migrants. Thrushes occupy a wide range of arboreal and terrestrial habitats. They eat insects and fruit, and a few eat snails or earthworms. They lay three to six eggs in an open cup-shaped nest; a few occupy cavities. Some of the thrushes, including the hermit thrush and the wood thrush, have notably beautiful songs. See also blackbird, bluebird, chat, ouzel, redstart, robin.

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