Somali Thrush Turdus ludoviciae


Justification of Red List Category
Athough habitat destruction within its small range has not been as extensive or rapid as was once feared, apparently partly as a result of forest protection by local inhabitants, this species nevertheless has a small, decreasing range, within which its forest habitat is likely to be declining in area, extent and quality and population is likely to be declining. It is therefore classified as Vulnerable.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 10,000-19,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Rates of forest loss are not as great as once feared and local inhabitants are also protecting their forest. The species is therefore suspected to have experienced a decline of only 1-19% over the last ten years.

Distribution and population

Turdus ludoviciae occurs in mountain-top woodlands in northern Somalia. It was considered to be locally common in 1979, most notably in Daalo Forest Reserve where it has remained common (Ash and Miskell 1998, J. Miskell in litt. 2006. N. Redman in litt. 2016), and at Mt. Wagar in 2005 (J. Miskell in litt. 2006). There is also a report from Gacaan Libex in 1999 (Miskell in litt. 2006).


This species is found in juniper woodlands and neighbouring open areas of mountain-tops at 1,300-2,000 m (Urban et al. 1997, Ash and Miskell 1998). It is reported to be shy and not very vocal (N. Redman in litt. 2016), and often feeds in small parties, sometimes in groups of up to 30 birds when feeding on fruiting juniper (Urban et al. 1997, Ash and Miskell 1998). Four nests have been found, all containing two eggs, and several pairs have been observed feeding young in the nest in May (Ash and Miskell 1998).


Even in 1979 the species's habitat was greatly threatened by forest destruction, including burning, felling and cattle-grazing, against which Forest Reserve status provides no protection in the current political situation (Ash and Miskell 1998). Although there were reports in 1998 that the juniper woodlands in the species's range had been completely felled (J. S. Ash in litt. 1999), intact juniper woodland has remained in at least some of its known sites, at least up to 2012 (J. Miskell in litt. 2006, N. Redman in litt. 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
In 2005 local inhabitants of the Daloh area were enthusiastically defending remaining juniper woodland from potential wood cutters (Miskell in litt. 2006).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Establish how much of its habitat remains. Assess the size and trend of its population. Support local inhabitants in their defence of juniper woodland.


23 cm. Medium-sized thrush of montane woodland. Brownish-grey with contrasting black head and breast. Bright yellow bill. Female has streaked and mottled white throat and streaked breast. Juvenile has similar blotching and spotting as in other young thrushes. Similar spp. Head of Olive Thrush T. olivaceus brownish-grey. Voice Song similar to T. olivaceus, alarm chatter harsher.


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Mahood, S., Shutes, S., Starkey, M., Symes, A. & Westrip, J.

Ash, J., Miskell, J. & Redman, N.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Turdus ludoviciae. Downloaded from on 09/04/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 09/04/2020.