BIRD OF THE WEEK: 11/7/2014 SCIENTIFIC NAME: Catharus ustulatus
POPULATION: 100 million
TREND: Declining
HABITAT: Breeding: deciduous, and mixed forest. Wintering: primary and secondary forests, edges.

Swainson's Thrush map, NatureServeAlthough much more common than Bicknell's Thrush, Swainson's is more often heard than seen in its interior forest haunts. The species' wintering range includes habitat in many ABC-supported reserves, including El Paujil and El Dorado in Colombia, Abra Patricia in Peru, and Tapichalaca in Ecuador.

Like other thrushes such as Wood, Hermit, and Varied, Swainson's Thrush is omnivorous, eating mostly insects during the breeding season, and fruits in fall and winter. Unlike many birds, it often sings while on migration.


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Swainson's Thrush, Double Brow Imagery, ShutterstockThis widely distributed thrush has four recognized subspecies, each with slight differences in plumage, breeding habitat, winter range, and certain vocalizations.

Almost 60 percent of the global population of Swainson's Thrush breeds in the boreal forests of North America. This biggest threat to this forest-dependent species is habitat fragmentation, which also takes a toll on other boreal-nesting birds such as Olive-sided Flycatcher and Magnolia and Blackpoll Warblers.

As nocturnal migrants, Swainson's Thrushes are also frequent victims of collisions with glass, towers, and wind turbines.

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