|Conservation status||Declining numbers have been noted in some regions; the species remains widespread and common in most areas.|
|Family||Mockingbirds and Thrashers|
|Habitat||Thickets, brush, shrubbery, thorn scrub. Breeds in areas of dense low growth, especially thickets around edges of deciduous or mixed woods, shrubby edges of swamps, or undergrowth in open pine woods; also in suburban neighborhoods with many shrubs and hedges. Winters in similar areas or in any habitat with dense brush.|
Does much foraging on the ground, using its bill to flip dead leaves aside or dig in the soil as it rummages for insects. Perches in shrubs and trees to eat berries. Will crack open acorns by pounding them with its bill.
4, sometimes 3-5, rarely 2-6. Pale blue to bluish white, finely dotted with reddish brown. Incubation is by both parents, about 11-14 days. Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 9-13 days after hatching. 2 broods per year, perhaps sometimes 3.
Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 9-13 days after hatching. 2 broods per year, perhaps sometimes 3.
Varied, includes insects, berries, nuts. More than half of diet is insects, including beetles, caterpillars, true bugs, grasshoppers, cicadas, and many others; also eats spiders, sowbugs, earthworms, snails, crayfish, and sometimes lizards and frogs. Berries and small fruits also very important in diet, especially in fall and winter, and eats many nuts and seeds, particularly acorns.
Male defends territory by singing loudly from prominent perches. In courtship, male approaches female, singing softly; either bird may pick up leaves or sticks, and present them to the other bird. Nest: Usually placed 2-7' above the ground in a dense shrub, vine tangle, or low tree. Sometimes on the ground under dense cover, or as high as 12' up. Nest (built by both sexes) is a bulky structure, with foundation of sticks supporting a loose cup of twigs, leaves, weeds, grass, bark fibers, lined with finer materials such as grass or rootlets.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Permanent resident in parts of south; mostly migratory in north, but small numbers may remain far north around feeders or in thickets with many berries. Strays may appear well west of normal range during fall, winter, and spring.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsA variety of musical phrases, each repeated twice; call a sharp smack!
Learn more about this sound collection.
How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Brown Thrasher
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Brown Thrasher
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.