Catharus ustulatus
(Swainson's Thrush)

Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Turdidae
Family Description: Thrushes, Solitaires and Bluebirds

Physical Description:
6 1/2-7 3/4" (17-20 cm). Olive-brown above; buff eye-ring. buffClick word for definition below with olive-brown spotting on breast; flanksClick word for definition darker.

Similar Species- Hermit Thrush and Veery

Upward spiraling, flute-like song.

Breeds from portions of Alaska and Canada, south to southern California, northern New Mexico, northern Nebraska, eastern Montana, northern Minnesota, northern New Engand, and Virginia. Winters in portions of South America, and in small numbers to northern Mexico.

Found in dense, tall shrubbery, coniferousClick word for definition woodlands (especailly spruce), aspen/poplar forests, second growth, and willow and alder thickets. During migration and in winter, also found in deciduousClick word for definition forests, open woodlands, humid lowland forests, scrub and brush (mostly mid-story or lower, but well above ground). Most common in mountains. Preliminary results of northern Idaho study indicated species was more abundant in continuous stands of old- growth cedar/hemlock than in fragmented or selectively harvested stands. In southeastern Idaho, species was strongly associated with cottonwood patches adjacent to natural upland vegetation as opposed to agriculture, and preferred cottonwood forests with willow subcanopies.

Eats insects and other invertebrates, small fruits, and seeds. frugivorousClick word for definition in migration and during winter.

Builds cup-shaped nest low in coniferous tree or shrub. Solitary when not breeding, but found in loose flocksClick word for definition in migrationClick word for definition (sometimes concentrated in large numbers near fruiting trees and shrubs). Takes food from foliage. May hover and drop to ground while foraging. Preliminary results of Idaho study conducted in cottonwood forests found species was negatively associated with grazed areas.

Female incubatesClick word for definition 3-4 eggs (usually), for 10-14 days. Young are tended by both parents, and leave nest at 10-14 days.

Element Code: ABPBJ18100
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5,NTMB
National Rank: N5B

Important State References:
Saab, V.A. 1996. Influence of spatial scale and land management on habitat use by breeding birds in cottonwood forests of southeastern Idaho. Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ. Colorado, Boulder. 140pp.

Photos by Jason Karl,© 2000 and C. S. Robbins, ©2002.
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.