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Crissal Thrasher


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A drably colored inhabitant of desert washes and riparian thickets of the American Southwest and central Mexico, the Crissal Thrasher can be recognized by its long, down-curved bill, its long tail, and its reddish undertail. Its mellow, musical song makes it one of the finest desert songsters.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
11.8 in
30 cm
12.6 in
32 cm
1.9–2.5 oz
53–70 g
Other Names
  • Moqueur cul roux (French)
  • Cuitlacoche crisal, Cuitlacoche crisum rojizo (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Crissal Thrasher is the only thrasher that lays unspotted eggs.
  • The nest of the Crissal Thrasher is usually built close up under a large branch, making access rather difficult. The location seems to afford protection from both aerial predators and from the direct rays of the sun.
  • The Crissal Thrasher walks and runs around its territory more than it flies. Even when disturbed by a person or a predator the thrasher is most likely to run away to cover.
  • The oldest recorded Crissal Thrasher was at least 4 years, 5 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Arizona in 1944. It had been banded in the same state in 1941.



Found in dense, low scrubby vegetation, such as desert and foothill scrub and riparian brush.



Insects and spiders, some seeds and berries.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1–4 eggs
Egg Description
Pale blue and unmarked.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless with sparse down.
Nest Description

An open cup of twigs, lined with finer vegetation, placed in middle of dense shrub.

Nest Placement



Ground Forager

Digs, picks, and probes with bill in leaf litter.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Crissal Thrasher populations appear to have been stable with small declines between 1966 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 200,000, with 40% living in the U.S., and 60% in Mexico. The species rates a 12 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Crissal Thrasher is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List. Loss of habitat due to clearing land for agriculture or urban and suburban development may threaten some populations. Crissal Thrasher is listed as Species of Special Concern by the California Department of Fish and Game.


Range Map Help

Crissal Thrasher Range Map
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