Black-billed Nightingale-thrush

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Catharus gracilirostris

Black-billed Nightingale-thrush

The Black-billed Nightingale-thrush is a small skulking thrush that is more often heard than seen. It is the smallest of the Central American nightingale-thrushes.

They are 5.71 - 6.31 inches long and weigh around 21 grams.

Adults have warm olive-brown upperparts. On the wings, alula, inner webs of primary coverts and flight feathers are duller brown, like centers of tail feathers. On the underparts, chin and throat are pale grey. There is a pale brown breastband. Flanks are gray. Middle belly to vent are whitish.

Face, forehead, forecrown and ear-coverts are gray, whereas nape and neck sides are olive-brown. Bill is black. Eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are pale brownish.

Both sexes are similar.

Juveniles are duller than adults, with mottled breast and flanks.

CALL: A high-pitched, descending “pseeeeew”, it also gives a thin, penetrating “sic” or “seeet”, and a short, nasal chattering, wren-like buzzy “chrrr”.

SONG: A series of up to three clear fluty whistles, followed by a jumbled trill rising and falling and then, fading and becoming blurred. Successive phrases can be repeated interspersed with short pauses.

Feeds on insects, larvae, worms, spiders and various invertebrates. It also consumes numerous berries.

Found in undergrowth of moist, cold highland oak forest, second growth, woods in pastures and clearings above the treeline, and patches of denser vegetation with tall shrubs in páramo areas.

Found mainly around the South-east of Australia, Atherton Tablelands, and in Queensland.

Their nest is a bulky, cup-shaped structure made with roots and green moss, and the inner cup is lined with finely woven grass stems and rootlets. It is placed in dense shrub or small tree, up to 5 meters above the ground.

The female lays 2 greenish-blue eggs with darker spots and speckles. Incubation period lasts about 11 - 15 days.


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