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Brown Thrasher

Toxostoma rufum

Length: 11.5 inches Wingspan: 14 inches Seasonality: Summer
ID Keys: Rufous brown upperparts, white heavily streaked underparts, 2 white wing bars

Brown Thrasher - Toxostoma rufumBrown Thrashers are shy birds of woodland edges and thickets, usually rushing for cover at approach.  However, they can often been seen singing from a high, conspicuous perch at the start of the breeding season.  Like others of the family Mimidae (the family including Mockingbirds), the Brown Thrasher will occasionally mimic the songs of other birds.

Habitat: Forest edges and clearings, brushy fields, thickets, residential shrubs and hedges. 

Diet: Insects, crustaceans, lizards, amphibians, earthworms, fruits and berries, nuts, and seeds.

Behavior: Does most of its foraging on the ground, hopping about looking for food, or flipping over leaves and small stones in search of insects.  Will also feed in trees and shrubs, especially when feeding on fruit and nuts.

Nesting: May through July

Song: Long series of distinct phrases, with each given in groups of two or three. 

Migration: Northern populations (including those in South Dakota) move south in the fall.  Most winter in the southeastern United States.

Interactive eBird Map: Click here for access to an interactive eBird map of Brown Thrasher sightings

Feeders: Will occasionally come for bread, fruits, or suet.

Similar Species: Wood Thrush, although size is much different.

Conservation Status: Has shown declines in some areas, but is still generally common and widespread.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Brown Thrasher

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Brown Thasher"

3) Brown Thrasher

Photo Information: June 12th, 2006 -- Beaver Creek Nature Area near Brandon -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Brown Thrasher photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view 
Brown Thrasher - Range Map 
South Dakota Status: Common summer resident

Additional Brown Thrasher Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
 Brown Thrasher - Toxostoma rufumBrown Thrasher - Toxostoma rufumBrown Thrasher - Toxostoma rufumBrown Thrasher - Toxostoma rufumBrown Thrasher - Toxostoma rufumBrown Thrasher - Toxostoma rufumBrown Thrasher - Toxostoma rufum