Wood thrush Hylocichla mustelina
Sound (113 KB)
7.75 inches (20 cm)
• Large black spots on white chest, throat and belly
• Reddish-brown above
• Rusty crown, nape and upper back
• White eye ring and streaked cheeks
• White underparts with black spots throughout
• Brown upperparts
• Pink legs
• Sexes similar
• Juvenile has pale spots on upperparts
• Often forages on forest floor
• Distinctive beautiful song
• The Wood Thrush resides in forests in the eastern United States where it is more often heard than seen. It is similar to other thrushes but has larger spots that extend onto the belly and contrast between the rusty head and duller brown back. Brown Thrasher is somewhat similar but has a much longer tail.
NESTING & FEEDING:
BREEDING: Deciduous or deciduous-coniferous forest, especially near water, occasionally near human habitation. Often 2 broods. Mating system is monogamous.
DISPLAYS: Female fluffs feathers and raises wings, then swift circling flights, with male following female; pair then feed together.
NEST: 6-50 feet high. Bulky, compact cup of weed stalks, grass, on base of leaves, middle layer of mud, lined with fine dark rootlets. Frequent use of white paper or rag in base of nest may serve to break up its outline. Female builds nest.
EGGS: 3-4 Greenish-blue, Unmarked. 1.0" (25 mm).
CHICK DEVELOPMENT: Female incubates. Incubation takes 13-14 days. Development is altricial (immobile, downless, eyes closed, fed). Young leave the nest after 12 days. Both sexes tend young.
DIET: Including insects, spiders, etc.; fruit often over 1/3 of diet. Reportedly at least some fruit fed to young.
CONSERVATION: Winters s through e Mexico to Panama and n w Colombia. Frequent cowbird host.
NOTES: Prefers nest habitat with moist substrate; expands range of breeding habitats in the absence of Veery. Young begin to forage at 20-23 days, may still beg up to 32 days. Experimental displacements of breeding birds from their territories demonstrated an ability to navigate successfully and return from distances of 4 to more than 10 miles. Exhibits relatively little geographic variation in song patterns.
Catharus mustelinus (old scientific name) WOOD THRUSH. Deciduous forest, woods. From se Manitoba, s Ontario, s Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia s to e N. and S. Dakota, e Nebraska, c,e Kansas, c,e Oklahoma and e,c Texas to the Gulf coast and n Florida. Winters in e,se Mexico, C. America to n Colombia. Vagrant to coastal California and British Isles.
DNA hybridization indicates a closer relationship to Catharus than to Turdus, but it has some Turdus-like behavior patterns.