|Conservation status||Still reasonably common, although population trends would be hard to detect.|
|Family||Mockingbirds and Thrashers|
|Habitat||Dense brush along desert streams, mesquite thickets. Habitat varies; in Sonoran desert found only in the densest mesquite thickets along washes, but in Chihuahuan desert it lives in sparse brush in open areas. Also occurs in dense chaparral, among manzanita and other scrub, in the southwestern mountains.|
Forages almost entirely on the ground under dense brush; finds much of its food by digging in the soil or among debris with its heavy, curved bill. Perches in bushes to eat berries.
2-3, sometimes 4. Blue-green; unmarked, unlike those of other thrashers. Incubation is by both parents, about 14 days. Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 11-13 days after hatching, are unable to fly well for several more days. 2 broods per year.
Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 11-13 days after hatching, are unable to fly well for several more days. 2 broods per year.
Mostly insects, some berries. Feeds on a wide variety of insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, ants, caterpillars, and many others; also spiders, centipedes, and other arthropods. Sometimes eats small lizards. Berries and small fruits make up an important minority of diet.
Pairs may remain together on territory at all seasons. Males sing in spring to defend nesting territory. When cowbirds lay eggs in the nest of this species, the adult thrashers generally throw the cowbird eggs out of the nest immediately. Nest site is well concealed in dense low growth, often in mesquites but also in other shrubs such as willows, greasewood, saltbush, even exotic saltcedar, usually 2-8' above the ground. Nest (built by both parents) is a bulky open cup of thorny twigs, lined with softer materials such as fine grass, weeds, bark fibers, and sometimes feathers.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Mostly a permanent resident, but a few may appear in fall and winter away from breeding areas.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
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Songs and CallsCall is a rolling chorilee, chorilee. Song consists of loud repeated phrases.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Crissal 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 Crissal 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.