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Merlin Bird ID

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    Brown Thrasher

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    Brown Thrasher

    Toxostoma rufum
    • ORDER: Passeriformes
    • FAMILY: Mimidae
    Basic Description

    It can be tricky to glimpse a Brown Thrasher in a tangled mass of shrubbery, and once you do you may wonder how such a boldly patterned, gangly bird could stay so hidden. Brown Thrashers wear a somewhat severe expression thanks to their heavy, slightly downcurved bill and staring yellow eyes, and they are the only thrasher species east of Texas. Brown Thrashers are exuberant singers, with one of the largest repertoires of any North American songbird.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Brown ThrasherRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    To find Brown Thrashers, keep your eyes and ears alert around tangled thickets, hedgerows or forest edges in central and eastern North America. Brown Thrashers are secretive, and hard to spot in their favorite spots under dense vegetation, but they can make a lot of noise as they rummage through the leaf litter. During spring and early summer, males climb higher to sing from exposed perches. Listen for a song with a pattern of a Northern Mockingbird, but with phrases repeated only in pairs rather than in triplets.

    Other Names
    • Cuitlacoche Rojizo (Spanish)
    • Moqueur roux (French)

    Backyard Tips

    Brown Thrashers may come to backyards if food is offered. Sometimes they visit feeders or the ground below to pick up fallen seed. There is a better chance they will visit if dense cover is close by. You can also attract them by planting shrubs that produce berries. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

    • Cool Facts