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Brown Thrasher

Toxostoma rufum ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: MIMIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

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.

Backyard Tips

Brown Thrashers may come to feeders on or near the ground with dense cover 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.

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.

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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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