Gray-cheeked Thrush

Catharus minimus




Thrushes (Turdidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Green blue to pale blue with brown specks

Number of Eggs:

3 - 6

Incubation Days:

13 - 14

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On low branch of tree or shrub.

Nest Material:

Grass, sedge, bark, weed stems, twigs, moss., Lined with grass, leaves and fine rootlets.





Gray-cheeked Thrush: Small thrush (minimus), with olive-brown upperparts, buff-brown breast with brown spots, and white or buff belly. Gray eye-ring is indistinct. Upper mandible is black with pale base, while lower mandible is yellow with black tip. Tail and rump have rust-brown wash. Sexes are similar. Difficult to distinguish from Bicknell’s Thrush.

Range and Habitat

Gray-cheeked Thrush: Breeds from northern Alaska across northern Canada to Newfoundland, south to northern British Columbia, northern Ontario, and central Quebec. Spends winters in Central and South America. Preferred habitats include coniferous forests (primarily spruce), tall shrubby areas in taiga, deciduous forests, and open woodlands.

Breeding and Nesting

Gray-cheeked Thrush: Three to six green blue to pale blue eggs, with brown specks, are laid in a nest made of grass, sedges, bark, weed stems, twigs, and moss, lined with grass, leaves, and fine rootlets, and built on low branch of a tree or shrub, up to 10 feet above the ground. Incubation ranges from 13 to 14 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Gray-cheeked Thrush: Eats mostly insects such as beetles, ants, wasps, and caterpillars; also feeds on spiders, crayfish, sow bugs, earthworms, grapes, wild cherries, blackberries, and raspberries. Usually forages on the ground.


Gray-cheeked Thrush: Call is a thin, high, abrasive "phreu." Song is a series of thin reedy notes inflected downward at the end "wheeoo-titi-wheeoo."

Similar Species

Gray-cheeked Thrush: Swainson's Thrush has buff face and eye-ring. Bicknell's Thrush is smaller, has warmer brown tones on upperparts, and more yellow on lower mandible.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
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.
The upper front part of a bird.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Upper mandibleX
The upper part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X