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Bicknell's Thrush

Silhouette ThrushesThrushes
Bicknell's ThrushCatharus bicknelli
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Turdidae

Basic Description

A small thrush of dense forests in remote parts of northeastern North America, Bicknell’s is nearly identical to the more widespread Gray-cheeked Thrush. Bicknell’s has a somewhat redder tail and shorter, yellower bill, but was treated as a subspecies of Gray-cheeked until 1995. Still the best way to distinguish the two is by their lovely songs: Bicknell’s has a rising rather than falling ending. This declining species has small breeding and wintering ranges; and its mountaintop habitat is vulnerable to climate change, making it a species of high conservation concern.

More ID Info
image of range map for Bicknell's Thrush
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Finding a breeding Bicknell’s Thrush is something of a mission, often requiring a hike to the top of a mountain with an early-morning start to arrive while males are still singing. Joining a field trip organized specifically to see Bicknell’s Thrush is certainly the best way to enjoy this shy, subtle bird. Migrants in spring and fall pass through some of the most densely populated parts of the eastern U.S., but at these times they are often silent and very difficult to distinguish from Gray-cheeked Thrushes.

Other Names

  • Zorzalito de Bicknell (Spanish)
  • Grive de Bicknell (French)
  • Cool Facts