Varied Thrush

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ixoreus naevius

Varied Thrush

The Varied Thrush is a member of the thrush family, Turdidae. It is the only species in the monotypic genus Ixoreus. It is a stocky songbird with a large, rounded head, straight bill, and long legs.

Males have grayish-blue crown, nape, back, rump and tail. Face is orange, with orange eyebrow and breast. They have a black eye-stripe, and a blackish breast band, as a necklace.

Upperwings are slate-gray with two orange wing bars, and an orange patch on opening wing. Belly is orange, slightly mottled gray, whereas the vent is whitish. Flanks are gray.

Females resemble the males but are duller. Upperparts are brownish-olive and they have a gray breast band.

Juveniles are similar to females, with a whitish belly, and scale looking throat and breast. Eyes are black.

Thin and pointed bill is blackish with yellow base on lower mandible. Legs and feet are brown-orange.

Both sexes are 7.5 - 10.2 inches in length, with 13.4 - 15 inches wingspan and 65 - 100 grams weight.

CALL: A soft and low "tschook”.

SONG: A slow series of variously pitched notes. In spring, just before the breeding season, the male utters very sweet warbles.

Feeds on insects and berries. In winter, it feeds mainly on berries, seeds and acorns. In summer, they eat insects and other invertebrates.

Common in dense and moist woodlands, mainly coniferous forests. It winters in woodlands, parks and gardens.

Breeds from northern California to boreal forest in Alaska and Yukon Territory.

Winters along Alaska and British Columbia coasts to northern Idaho, and southwards to southern California. Wanders widely across North America in winter, to the Midwestern States.

The female builds an open cup-shaped nest with twigs, leaves, lichen and bark. The middle layer is denser than outer, with rotten wood and moss, but sometimes with mud and wet grass. The inner layer is fine, made with soft grasses, dead leaves and moss.

She lays 1 - 5 greenish-blue eggs, slightly spotted with brown and incubates for about 12 - 14 days.


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