Swainson's Thrush

Catharus ustulatus

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Thrushes (Turdidae)

Code 4

SWTH

Code 6

CATUST

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Swainson’s Thrush is a medium bird which may also be called the Olive-backed Thrush. It prefers to breed in coniferous woodlands with dense undergrowth throughout Canada, Alaska and the northern United States. It is also found in deciduous forests of the North American Pacific Coast. During winter months, this species will migrate to southern Mexico and Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, Bolivia and occasionally Western Europe. The Swainson’s Thrush forages for its food on the forest floor and gleans the surrounding vegetation. Diets usually consist of insects and berries. Nests are cup-shaped and placed on horizontal tree branches. The conservation rating for the Swainson’s Thrush is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Swainson's Thrush: Medium-sized thrush (swainsoni), with dull olive-brown or olive-gray upperparts, pale buff eye-ring, dark moustache stripe, and brown-spotted buff throat and breast, and white belly. Legs and feet are pink-gray. Flies in a swift, direct flight with rapid wing beats.


Range and Habitat

Swainson's Thrush: Breeds from Alaska east across Canada to Newfoundland, south to British Columbia and along the west coast and Rocky Mountains, and also in northern New England. During migration, it may occur throughout North American and the Caribbean. Spends winters in tropics, from central Mexico south. Prefers coniferous forests and willow thickets.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"whit", "peep"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Swainson's Thrush is the only woodland thrush whose song goes up in pitch.
  • It was named after William Swainson, an English ornithologist, and is also called the Olive-backed Thrush.
  • This species may be displaced by the Hermit Thrush where their ranges overlap. Possibly, the latter species adapts more readily to human encroachment upon its habitat.
  • A group of thrushes are collectively known as a "hermitage" and a "mutation" of thrushes.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Swainson's Thrush

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X