The Orange-headed Thrush is 205 to 235 mm(8.1 to 9.25 in) long and weighs 47 to 60 g. The adult male of the nominate subspecies has an entirely orange head and underparts, uniformly grey upperparts and wings, and white coverts. It has a slate-coloured(grey) bill and the legs and feet have brown fronts and pink or yellowish rears. The female resembles the male but has browner or more olive upperparts and brown wings. The juvenile is dull brown with buff streaks on its back, and a rufous tone to the head and face; it has grey wings. The bill is brownish horn, and the legs are brown.

Habitat and Distribution

The Orange-headed Thrush breeds in the much of the Indian Subcontinent, including Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, and through Southeast Asia to Java. Its habitat is moist broadleaved evergreen woodlands, with a medium-density undergrowth of bushes and ferns, but it also utilises bamboo forests and secondary growth.


They feed on the ground in dense undergrowth. It is most active at dawn and dusk, probing the leaf litter for insect and their larvae, spiders, other invertebrates and fruit. In Malaysia, wintering birds feed on figs.


The nest, built by both sexes, is a wide but shallow cup of twigs, bracken and rootlets lined with leaves, moss and conifer needles. It is constructed at a height of up to 4.5 metres in a small mango tree or coffee bush. Three or four eggs are laid. They are cream or tinted with pale blue, grey or green, and have pale lilac blotches and reddish brown spots. They are incubated for 13 to 14 days to hatching.

Calls and Songs

Flight calls : a soft chuk or tchuk, a screeching teer-teer-teer, and a thin tsee or dzef The song is a loud clear series of variably sweet lilting musical notes.