Thrushes are plump, soft-plumaged, small to medium-sized birds, inhabiting wooded areas, and often feed on the ground. The smallest thrush may be the Forest Rock Thrush, at 21 g (0.74 oz) and 14.5 cm (5.7 in). However, the shortwings, which have ambiguous alliances with both thrushes and Old World flycatchers, can be even smaller. The Lesser Shortwing averages 12 cm (4.7 in). The largest thrush is Blue Whistling Thrush, at 178 g (6.3 oz) and 33 cm (13 in). The Great Thrush is similar in length but less heavily built. Most species are grey or brown in colour, often with speckled underparts.
They are insectivorous, but most species also eat worms, land snails, and fruit. Many species are permanently resident in warm climes, while others migrate to higher latitudes during summer, often over considerable distances.
Thrushes build cup-shaped nests, sometimes lining them with mud. They lay two to five speckled eggs, sometimes laying two or more clutches per year. Both parents help in raising the young.