Long-billed Thrasher: Medium, shy thrasher with gray-washed brown upperparts and heavily streaked, pale underparts. Eyes are orange. Bill is long, black, and decurved. Wings have two white bars. Tail is long and rufous. Legs and feet are brown. Eats insects, small amphibians and fruit.
Range and Habitat
Long-billed Thrasher: Resident from south-central Texas through Tamaulipas and eastern Coahuila along the Atlantic slope of Mexico to central Veracruz. Most common in the dense woodland along the lower Rio Grande River. It occurs in brushy or thicketed habitats in both open country and wooded areas.
Mockingbirds and Thrashers (Mimidae)
Also known as perching birds, the order PASSERIFORMES (pronounced pas-ser-i-FOR-meez) is composed of one hundred and eighteen families that range from the tiny kinglets to the aquatic dippers and the highly vocal mockingbirds.
A bird family restricted to North and South America, there are thirty-four species of mockingbirds and thrashers in ten genera in the Mimidae (pronounced MIH-muh-dee), (also known as "Mimids").
There are twenty-four species of Mimids in ten genera in North America. The well-known Northern Mockingbird is included in this group along with catbirds and the terrestrial thrashers.
Mimids are most well known for being very accomplished singers. Most species frequently sing loud, complex songs that include imitations of other bird species; the Northern Mockingbird being particularly gifted in this respect.
Small-to-medium sized bird, Mimids are slender with long tails, short wings, and fairly long legs. Their bills are thin and straight in some species and strongly downcurved in the case of thrashers.
Except for the Blue Mockingbird (a rare visitor from Mexico), Mimids lack bright colors and are plumaged in shades of gray, white, and brown with black markings. Several species have white wing bars and white markings in the tail; most thrashers are streaked or spotted on the underparts.
Mockingbirds, catbirds, and thrashers are most common in warmer climates (especially in the southwestern United States), and are birds of non-forest habitats. Catbirds skulk in second growth in the east while in the southern United States mockingbirds sing from open, park-like habitats and the tops of houses. Brown Thrashers live in similar habitats in the east and are replaced by other thrasher species in various arid and shrubby habitats in the west.
Apart from a sole long distance migrant that spends the winter in humid second growth in Mexico and Central America (the Gray Catbird), Mimid species are ether short distance migrants or permanent residents.
Mimids pair up to breed but do not form flocks. Nevertheless, they are very communicative birds that frequently vocalize to keep in touch with their mates or delineate territories. Primarily terrestrial in nature, Mimids forage in thick undergrowth and on the ground for arthropods and other small creatures.
Adapted to non-forest habitats, most Mimids are common birds. However due to its dependence upon sage brush, a habitat increasingly threatened by development and conversion to agriculture, the Sage Thrasher is a species of concern in many areas where it occurs.
The Northern Mockingbird sings more than most other birds, mimics other birds and non-bird sounds such as car alarms, and commonly sings for several hours during the night; a trait some people find annoying, particularly when the mockingbird sings from the top of their house.