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Gray-cheeked Thrush


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Of all the American spotted thrushes, the Gray-cheeked has the most northern breeding range. Consequently this shy skulker of the underbrush is not well known and is rather infrequently seen.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
6.3–6.7 in
16–17 cm
0.9–1.1 oz
26–30 g
Other Names
  • Grive à joues grises (French)
  • Zorzal cara gris (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Gray-cheeked and Bicknell's thrushes were only recently recognized as separate species. Most of the information published in the last century on "Gray-cheeked Thrush" concerned the Bicknell's Thrush instead of the Gray-cheeked. Although Gray-cheeked Thrush has a much larger range across North America, the Bicknell's Thrush's small range is closer to centers of human population, and therefore is the more accessible species.
  • The oldest recorded Gray-cheeked Thrush was at least 6 years, 11 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Ontario in 2005. It had been banded in Florida in 1999.



  • Breeds in areas with closed canopy of small shrubs and a dense understory, up to the edge of the tundra.
  • Winters in the understory of tropical forests.
  • On migration it uses wooded sites with a thick understory.



Insects and other arthropods, fruit.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3–5 eggs
Egg Description
Light greenish blue marked with brown blotches around larger end.
Condition at Hatching
Nest Description

Open cup of twigs and stems lined with moss and grass. Nest placed in crotches of branches of shrubs, or on ground.

Nest Placement



Ground Forager


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Population trends of Gray-cheeked Thrush are difficult to estimate due in part to the species' remote breeding areas. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 16 million with 66% spending part of the year in the U.S., and 24% in Canada. The species rates a 9 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Gray-cheeked Thrush is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.


  • Lowther, P., C. C. Rimmer, B. Kessel, S. L. Johnson, and W. G. Ellison. 2001. Gray-cheeked Thrush (Catharus minimus). In The Birds of North America, No. 591 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
  • North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee. 2014. State of the Birds 2014 Report. U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, DC.
  • Partners in Flight. 2012. Species assessment database.
  • USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2015. Longevity records of North American Birds.

Range Map Help

Gray-cheeked Thrush Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

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