Oreoscoptes montanus
(Sage Thrasher)


Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Mimidae
Family Description: Mockingbirds and Thrashers

Physical Description:
8-9" (20-23 cm). Drab gray above, white below with dark spotting on breast. Yellow eyes. Immatures darker with less well defined spotting bellow.

Similar Species- Curve-billed Thrasher, Bendire's Thrasher

Song:
Song consists of cackles, whistles, and harsh warbles.

Distribution:
Breeds from southern British Columbia southeast to Wyoming, south to southern California (east of Coast Ranges), west to Utah, and south from there to northern New Mexico, northwestern Texas, and western Oklahoma. Winters south to Baja California and northern mainland of Mexico.

Habitat:
Found in sagebrush steppeClick word for definition. During migrationClick word for definition and in winter, also found in scrub, brush, and thickets, primarily in arid or semi-arid situations (rarely around towns). In many areas, confined to regions where Artemisia tridentata grows. Idaho study found big sagebrush used for nesting were taller than average, had greater foliage densityClick word for definition, and most often faced easterly. A recent study in southwestern Idaho concluded that distribution of sage thrashers was influenced by both local vegetation cover and landscape features such as patch size.

Diet:
Feeds on variety of insects, including grasshoppers, beetles, weevils, ants, and bees. Will also eat fruits and berries.

Ecology:
Forages on ground. Builds nest in, or under, sagebrush. Density rarely exceeds 30/km2. Idaho study found average territory size was 1.14 ha.

Reproduction:
Idaho study found both sexes incubated average of 3.5 eggs for 15 days; nestling period averaged 12.3 days and fledglingsClick word for definition averaged 2.2/nest. Nestlings are altricialClick word for definition and downy.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABPBK04010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5,NTMB
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
Peterson, K.L. and L.B. Best. 1991. Nest-site selection by Sage Thrashers in southeastern Idaho. Great Basin Nat. 51:261-266.


Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.