|Conservation status||Could be vulnerable to loss of habitat through cutting of northwestern forests. Currently still common.|
|Habitat||Thick, wet forest, conifers; in winter, woods, ravines, thickets. Breeds in coniferous forest of various types, but most common in dense, wet forest near the coast, in areas of fir, hemlock, and spruce with dense understory. In migration and winter favors coniferous woods but also occurs in undergrowth of other woods, especially near streams.|
Does much foraging on the ground, usually under dense cover but sometimes on open lawns; may use its bill to toss leaf-litter aside as it searches for insects. Feeds on berries either in trees and shrubs or after they fall to ground.
3-4, sometimes 2-5. Pale blue, lightly dotted with brown. Incubation is by female, probably about 2 weeks. Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Development of young and age at which they leave the nest are not well known. Probably 2 broods per year.
Both parents feed nestlings. Development of young and age at which they leave the nest are not well known. Probably 2 broods per year.
Mostly insects and berries. Feeds on many insects, especially in summer, including beetles, ants, caterpillars, crickets, and many others; also eats many millipedes, sowbugs, snails, earthworms, spiders, other invertebrates. Berries and wild fruits make up majority of winter diet, also eats some seeds and acorns.
Male sings in spring to defend territory, singing most frequently at dawn and dusk and after a rain. Nest: Usually placed in conifer, at base of branches against trunk, 5-15' above the ground. Sites vary: Occasionally much higher; especially in far north, may nest very low in deciduous thickets or on the ground. Nest (probably built by female) is a bulky open cup of twigs, moss, leaves, and bark fibers, lined with softer materials such as grass and rootlets.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Migrates relatively late in fall and early in spring. Numbers present in southern wintering areas quite variable from year to year. A few stray far to the east every year in fall and winter, some reaching New England.
- 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 CallsSong 2 or 3 buzzy whistles, each drawn out until it fades away, followed by a short silence. Call a low took.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Varied Thrush
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Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Varied Thrush
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.