Swainson's Thrush

Catharus ustulatus

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Thrushes (Turdidae)

Code 4

SWTH

Code 6

CATUST

ITIS

Egg Color:

Pale blue with brown flecks



Number of Eggs:

3 - 5



Incubation Days:

12 - 14



Egg Incubator:

Female



Nest Location:

In trees or shrubs., On branch close to trunk of conifer.



Nest Material:

Sticks, moss, leaves, plant fibers and bark with occasional middle layer of mud., Lined with lichens, dried leaves and rootlets.



Migration:

Migratory



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General

Swainson's Thrush: Medium-sized thrush (swainsoni),with dull olive-brown or olive-gray upperparts, pale buff eye-ring, dark moustache stripe, brown-spotted buff throat and breast, and white belly. Legs and feet are pink-gray. Sexes are similar.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Swainson's Thrush: Three to five pale blue eggs, usually flecked with brown, are laid in a nest made of sticks, moss, leaves, plant fibers, and bark, a middle layer of mud, and lined with lichens, dried leaves, and rootlets. Nest is built close to the trunk on a conifer branch, usually from 4 to 20 feet above the ground. Incubation ranges from 12 to 14 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Swainson's Thrush: Eats insects, snails, and earthworms; also takes fruits and berries during fall migration. Forages near the ground, but higher in understory than other thrushes; occasionally catches insects in mid-air. Follows army ant swarms in winter.

Readily Eats

Raisins, Nut Meal

Vocalization

Swainson's Thrush: Song is an upward series of thin, musical, varied whistling notes repeated at intervals without change. Call is a sharp "whit" or hollow "peep."

Similar Species

Swainson's Thrush: Gray-cheeked Thrush is larger, has gray cheeks, and lacks conspicuous eye-ring. Bicknell's Thrush is smaller, has browner upperparts, more yellow on bill, and different voice. Hermit Thrush has white eye-ring, lacks buff face, and has a rufous tail contrasting with the browner back. Western form of Veery has less buff on face, more red-brown on wings, and gray flanks.

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