Brown Thrasher

Toxostoma rufum

Image of a Brown Thrasher stood on the ground.
Image by Becky Laboy on Flickr, used with express permission

Physical: The Brown Thrasher is a medium-sized songbird with a length of about 11.5 inches (29 cm) and a wingspan of 13 inches (33 cm). It has a striking reddish-brown plumage covering most of its body, with a lighter, buffy-colored belly and chest marked by dark streaks. Its eyes are yellow, and it has a long, slightly down-curved bill ideal for foraging.

Habitat: Brown Thrashers are usually found in areas with dense shrubbery, often at the edges of woods or in overgrown fields. They also inhabit gardens and parks, essentially anywhere they can find ample cover for nesting and foraging. They are prevalent in the eastern and central United States.

Feeding: Primarily insectivorous, the Brown Thrasher hunts for beetles, caterpillars, and other insects in leaf litter or soil, using its long bill to turn over leaves and debris. They also consume fruits, nuts, and seeds, making them opportunistic feeders. During the colder months, their diet becomes more plant-based, as insects become less abundant.

Breeding: Brown Thrashers are monogamous, usually forming long-term pair bonds. Nests are typically built low to the ground in dense shrubs or small trees. The female is the primary architect, using twigs, leaves, and other plant material to create the nest. The clutch size is generally 3-5 eggs, which are pale blue or white and speckled. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs and caring for the young.

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