Veery Catharus fuscescens
7 inches (18 cm)
• Reddish-brown above, grayish-white below
• Small black spots on chest and throat
• Gray face and buffy throat
• Cinnamon upperparts in eastern United States birds, duller in western birds
• Indistinct eye ring
• Breast buffy with small dark spots, spots larger in western birds
• Underparts white with gray flanks
• Pink legs
• Thin bill with pale base
• Sexes similar
• Often forages on forest floor
• Distinctive beautiful song
• The Veery resides in forests where it is more often heard than seen. It is similar to other thrushes but has smaller, less extensive spotting on the breast and uniformly light brown upperparts. In the western United States, Veeries and Swainson's Thrushes have similar upperpart coloration and spotting on the breast. They can be separated by flank color-gray in Veery and brown in Swainson's, and by vocalizations.
Dense thickets and undergrowth, moist deciduous and mixed woods, thickets along streams, willow and alder swamps, wooded lowlands. Often seen foraging on forest floor, turning over leaves with its bill. Likes to sing at dusk. Very pretty, flutelike song.
NESTING & FEEDING:
BREEDING: Shaded moist woodland (especially poplar, aspen) with understory. 1 brood, 2? in s. Female builds nest. Mating system is monogamous.
DISPLAYS: Agonistic: birds draw heads back, bills up at 45 degrees and slightly to side, may also flick wings, raise crests.
NEST: 0-6 feet above ground in shrubs. Substantial, of grass, bark strips, weed stems, twigs, moss, lining of soft bark, dry leaves.
EGGS: 4 Pale blue, usually unmarked, rarely marked with browns. 0.9" (23 mm).
CHICK DEVELOPMENT: Female incubates. Incubation takes 10-12 days. Development is altricial (immobile, downless, eyes closed, fed). Young leave the nest after 10 days. Both sexes tend young.
DIET: Insects. Also includes spiders; some fruit, especially in fall and winter. Young fed insects. Often feed by flying from low perch to ground and then returning to perch; also hawks insects.
CONSERVATION: Winters in South America from n Colombia e to Guyana and s to Amazonia and c Brazil. Common cowbird host.
NOTES: Prefers nest habitat with moist substrate; expands range of breeding habitats where Hermit and Swainson's Thrushes are absent.
Catharus fuscescens VEERY. Deciduous or mixed woods, swampy forest, riparian willows, alders. From sc,se British Columbia and c Alberta e across s Canada to sw Newfoundland and c Nova Scotia, s to c,ne,se Washington, ne Oregon, ne Nevada, s Idaho, n Utah, nw,s,ne Wyoming, locally in c Colorado, ec Arizona, wc New Mexico and from c,ne Montana and s Saskatchewan to sw S. Dakota, n,c,e N. Dakota, c Minnesota, sc Wisconsin, extreme ne Illinois, n Indiana, nw,ne Ohio, Pennsylvania, n New Jersey, se New York and New England; Appalachian Mts. s to e Tennessee, w N. Carolina and nw Georgia; and Atlantic lowlands s to Maryland. Winters in nc S. America in Guyana, Venezuela, n,e Colombia, w,c Amazonian Brazil and n Bolivia. Vagrant to California, e Peru and n Chile in Arica.