See more images of this species in Macaulay Library. The distinctive song and call also distinguish Swainson's Thrush from others. This species' body mass can range from 23 to 45 g (0.81 to 1.59 oz). Swainson's thrush is a very rare vagrant to western Europe. The specific ustuatus is Latin for "burnt", from urere, "to burn".[2]. Smaller than an American Robin; larger than a White-throated Sparrow. Adults are brown on the upperparts. On migration, particularly in fall, they also eat small fruits such as wild cherries and Virginia creeper. 2016. Recent molecular systematics work[9] confirms that these two pairs of subspecies form two genetically distinct clades, referred to as the continental and coastal clades, which diverged during the Late Pleistocene era, probably about 10,000 years ago as the last ice age came to its end and habitats shifted across North America. It is a member of genus Catharus and is typical of it in terms of its subdued coloration and beautiful, ascending flute-like voice. CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, Out of the wide range of fruit eaten by this bird, those of,, "Foraging behavior of Swainson's Thrushes (Catharus ustulatus) during spring migration through Arkansas". It frequents moist woodlands and during the non-breeding season you are more likely to hear its call note, which sounds like a drop of water, than its ethereal flute-like song. [4][5][6] This thrush has the white-dark-white underwing pattern characteristic of Catharus thrushes. It has also occurred as a vagrant in northeast Asia.[3]. Swainson’s Thrushes that breed in the Pacific states (often called the “Russet-backed” Thrush) are rusty-brown above, with thinner, paler eyerings and medium-brown chest spotting. Although Swainson's Hawk is big enough to prey on rodents, snakes, and birds (and does so, while it is raising young), at most seasons it feeds heavily on large insects instead. The breeding habitat of Swainson's thrush is coniferous woods with dense undergrowth across Canada, Alaska, and the northern United States; also, deciduous wooded areas on the Pacific coast of North America. Males and females appear similar in most species. Not as the crow flies: a historical explanation for circuitous migration in Swainson's thrush (, Seasonal migration, speciation, and morphological convergence in the avian genus,, Native birds of the Northwestern United States, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Winker, Kevin & Pruett, Christin L. (2006): ", This page was last edited on 18 September 2020, at 07:02. British Columbia has both coastal and inland breeding populations of Swainson’s Thrush. Breeds primarily in evergreen forests except in California where it also uses deciduous forests near streams. Despite being closer to the Pacific Coast than the Gulf of Mexico, inland breeders in BC cross the Northern Rockies and the central US in order to cross the Gulf of Mexico, just like Swainson’s Thrush that breed in Manitoba or Maine. There is a small area of overlap in the Coast Mountains. Catharus ustulatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T103881682A94170877. The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. The wingspan averages at 30 cm (12 in) and the wing chord is 8.7–10.5 cm (3.4–4.1 in). Subspecies Cathartus ustulatus alame and C. u. swainsoni summer east of the British Columbian Coast Mountains, the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada, and C. u. ustulatus and C. u. oedicus summer west of these ranges. Swainson's Thrush is best distinguished from all other thrushes by presence of buffy eye-ring and lores. The widespread eastern and northern form (often called “Olive-backed Thrush”) is common east of the Cascades/Sierra Nevada. Overall length 16.1 to 19.3 cm; mass 23 to 45 g. Although wings and tail may be somewhat browner than body, upperparts appear fairly uniform in color. Swainson’s Thrush is a common species, but has been gradually declining across its range; experiencing a loss of about 38% between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Olive-brown above with a distinct buffy eyering. Swainson's Thrush. Swainson’s Thrushes are shy but vocal birds that skulk in the shadows of their generally dark forest-interior habitat. They forage on the forest floor, also in trees. The underparts are white with brown on the flanks; the breast is lighter brown … [7] Swainson's thrushes mainly eat insects, fruits and berries. Medium-sized thrush with a round head and a short, straight bill. All are similar in shape to a robin, but smaller. During the peak of migration, Swainson's Thrushes are often very common in woodlots and parks, lurking in the thickets, slipping into fruiting trees to pluck berries. Swainson's thrush was named after William Swainson, an English ornithologist. Adults are brown on the upperparts. Medium-sized thrush with a round head. At least in the winter quarters, Swainson's thrush tends to keep away from areas of human construction and other activity. Swainson’s Thrushes breeding on the Pacific slope of the U.S. and Canada have warmer brown upperparts (see Regional Differences). Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. This species may be displaced by the hermit thrush where their ranges overlap. Individuals breeding in the eastern and northern parts of North America (often called “Olive-backed Thrush”) are more olive-brown above with darker spotting on the breast. Individuals breeding in the Pacific states (often called the “Russet-backed” Thrush) are rustier above, with thinner, paler eyerings and medium-brown chest spotting. The genus name Catharus comes from the Ancient Greek katharos, "pure or clean" and refers to the plumage of the orange-billed nightingale-thrush C. aurantiirostris. The wingspan averages at 30 cm (12 in) and the wing chord is 8.7–10.5 cm (3.4–4.1 in). BirdLife International. The Swainson's Thrush is a shy ground-foraging songbird that is present in Tennessee only as a migrant. Swainson's thrush (Catharus ustulatus), also called olive-backed thrush, is a medium-sized thrush. [8] They make a cup nest on a horizontal tree branch. The genetic differences between the subspecies, and the circuitous migratory route of the continental birds, strongly suggest that these species underwent a rapid range expansion following the end of the last ice age, with populations originally summering in the south-east of North America expanding their ranges northwards and westwards as the ice retreated.

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