I sent my Christmas Lifer wish list to Santa Claus and he heard me! This Chinese Thrush spotted the 25th December at the Botanical Gardens is a great birding gift.
A lifer, a patch tick and the 13th species of trushes (of the genera Turdus, Zoothera, Myophonus, Monticola) being observed in the two largest city's public parks. The other species are Chinese Blackbird, Pale (1st for Vietnam, Feb. 2011), Japanese, Grey-backed, Black-breasted, Eyebrowed, Siberian, Scaly, Orange-headed Thrushes, Blue Whistling-Thrush, White throated & Blue Rock-Thrushes (the latter mainly observed on buildings, not parks).
A rather bulky thrush, olivey-brown above and heavily-spotted below with a very prominent dark crescent to the rear of the ear coverts. I found it rather inconspicuous, often remaining motionless.
The Chinese Thrush is described as "uncommon to locally common" by Clement and Hathway (2000) within its limited range - central China. Apparently it is a partial migrant, with northern populations moving furthest south. I haven’t much information about its status in Vietnam, but it seems to be a rare and irregular winter visitor (or more likely just undetected because in small numbers), with a very few records (in East Tonkin).