SCIENTIFIC NAME: Oreoscoptes montanus
The Sage Thrasher is a fairly small songbird with relatively long legs and tail. They are the smallest of the thrashers. Their bill is much shorter and straighter than the bills of other thrashers. When perched, they often stand erect with their wings slightly drooped, like a thrush.
Sage Thrashers are drab gray above with spotted underparts. They have black spotting on their breast that turns to fine streaks along cinnamon-tinged flanks. In summer, these streaks can become less distinct from feather wear. The tips of the outer tail feathers are white, there are two whitish wingbars, and the eye is yellow.
They are the smallest of the Thrasher species found in the western United States, measuring 7.9 - 9.1 inches in length, with a wingspan of 12.6 inches and 40 - 50 grams in weight.
CALL: A short “chuk” call.
SONG: Repeated clear warbling phrases.
Feeds on insects, especially grasshoppers, caterpillars, and beetles, in summer. They also feed on fruits and berries, especially in the winter.
Breeds almost exclusively in sagebrush habitats. They can also be found in other brushy or semi-open habitats in winter and in migration, especially in areas where berries are readily available.
Breeds in western North America, from southern Canada to northern Arizona and New Mexico. In winter, these birds migrate to the southernmost United States and Mexico, including the Baja Peninsula, north and south.
The nest is built of twigs, bark, and leaves, lined with finer material such as grasses or animal hair. It is placed near the base of a large sagebrush plant, typically on the ground under thick cover or very low in the shrub itself.
The female lays 4 - 7 eggs, with both parents helping to incubate the eggs. The eggs hatch after about 14 - 16 days, with the young fledgling from the nest about 10 - 14 days after hatching.