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California Thrasher Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A large, lanky songbird with a very long tail and long legs. The bill is very long and strongly curved. It has wide wings.

    Relative Size

    Larger than a Northern Mockingbird, smaller than a Yellow-billed Magpie.

    Relative Sizerobin sizedrobin-sized

    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 12.6 in (32 cm)
      • Weight: 2.8-3.3 oz (78-93 g)
      • Wingspan: 12.2 in (31 cm)

Regional Differences

Ornithologists recognize two subspecies: redivivum, found from Baja California north to southern Santa Cruz and Placer Counties, and sonomae, found from northern Santa Cruz and El Dorado Counties northward. These differ in the richness of plumage: the southerly redivivum is paler, more a grayish brown above, with buffy undertail coverts and a grayish throat, whereas the northern sonomae is a rich brown above, with almost chestnut undertail coverts and a buffy throat.