Eyebrowed Thrush

The Eyebrowed Thrush (Turdus obscurus), known as 白眉鸫 in Chinese, is a medium-sized passerine bird belonging to the Turdidae family. It is distinguished by its unique plumage and striking facial features.

Physical Features:

  • Size: About 22-25 cm (8.7-9.8 inches) in length.
  • Plumage: The Eyebrowed Thrush has a somewhat plain appearance with a brownish or olive-brown back and a pale underbelly. One of its most distinguishing features is the prominent white “eyebrow” or supercilium that runs above its eye, contrasting with its darker face and throat.
  • Voice: The bird’s call is a series of melodious, somewhat repetitive notes or trills. It can be a bit subdued compared to other thrush species but is often heard in its habitat.


  • Behavior: The Eyebrowed Thrush is generally solitary or seen in small groups. It is often found foraging on the ground or in low shrubs, feeding on insects, worms, and berries.
  • Diet: It primarily consumes invertebrates such as insects and worms, but also eats fruits and berries, especially during the winter months.
  • Breeding: It builds a cup-shaped nest in a tree or bush, where it lays several eggs. The breeding season typically occurs during the warmer months, with the bird displaying territorial behavior.

Where to Watch in China and Yunnan:

  1. China:
    • Northern and Central China: The Eyebrowed Thrush is commonly found in areas like Beijing, Hebei, and Shanxi, particularly in forested and hilly regions.
    • Southern China: During migration periods, it can be spotted in southern provinces such as Jiangxi and Zhejiang, though it is less common in these areas.
  2. Yunnan:
    • Kunming: The Eyebrowed Thrush can be observed in the forests and parklands around Kunming, particularly during migration seasons.
    • Xishuangbanna: This region’s tropical and subtropical environments offer suitable habitats for the Eyebrowed Thrush, especially in higher altitudes.
    • Dali and Lijiang: These areas provide good birdwatching opportunities with their diverse habitats, including forests and open woodlands.

Best Time for Birding Tours:

  • Spring (March to May): Spring is a prime time for birdwatching as many birds, including the Eyebrowed Thrush, are active in their breeding behaviors and migration. The weather is also favorable for birdwatching.
  • Autumn (September to November): This season is ideal for observing migratory birds, including the Eyebrowed Thrush, as they move through their migratory routes.
  • Winter (December to February): In Yunnan, winters are relatively mild, making it a good time to spot the Eyebrowed Thrush, especially as it may stay in the region during colder months.

Birding Trips and Recommendations:

  • Guided Birdwatching Tours: Participating in guided tours can enhance your chances of spotting the Eyebrowed Thrush. These tours are often led by experts familiar with local bird species and their habitats.
  • Local Birdwatching Organizations: Contact local birding clubs or organizations in Kunming, Xishuangbanna, Dali, and Lijiang for tailored birdwatching experiences and updated information on where to find the Eyebrowed Thrush.
  • Self-Guided Birdwatching: If you prefer a self-guided approach, equip yourself with a field guide and use birding apps to aid in spotting the Eyebrowed Thrush. Research local birding spots and plan your visits according to the best times for observing this species.

Additional Tips:

  • Equipment: Bring binoculars with good magnification and a camera with a telephoto lens to capture images of the Eyebrowed Thrush. A field guide specific to the region can also be helpful.
  • Local Expertise: Engaging with local guides or birdwatching groups can significantly improve your birding experience and increase your chances of observing the Eyebrowed Thrush.