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Le Conte's Thrasher

Toxostoma lecontei

Length: 11 inches Wingspan: 12 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Long decurved bill, pale sandy gray overall, peachy undertail coverts, plain face with darker lores

Le Conte's Thrasher - Toxostoma leconteiThe Le Conte's Thrasher is a pale thrasher of very arid lands in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. They rarely choose to fly, spending most of their time on the ground, and even prefer to run when disturbed rather than fly.  They are rather uncommon even in suitable habitat, and given their preference for harsh environments, they are a bird not easily found for birders.  Numbers undoubtedly declined in the 20th century due to habitat loss, and they breed over a relatively small geographic range. However, existing populations are likely to persist, given the harshness of their preferred habitats and the lack of widespread disturbance from humans.

Habitat: Found  in arid habitats with scattered shrubs.  They can be found in more open habitats than some other southwestern thrasher species, such as sparsely vegetated desert areas with scattered shrubs.

Diet: Feeds mostly on insects and spiders, but will also sometimes eat fruits and berries.  They will also take small vertebrates like small lizards.

Behavior: Forages by walking on the ground, using it's bill to dig in the soil and litter, searching for insects. 

Nesting: The nest of a Le Conte's Thrasher is a large cup of twigs and thorns, lined with softer material such as grasses and leaves.  The female lays 3 or 4 eggs, and both parents help to incubate them.  After hatching, both parents help to feed the young.  Le Conte's Thrashers often raise more than one brood per breeding season.

Song: Series of soft warbles with long smooth notes

Migration: Considered a permanent resident throughout its normal range.

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Le Conte's Thrasher sightings

Similar Species: California Thrasher, Crissal Thrasher, Curve-billed Thrasher

Conservation Status: Populations appear to be stable, and the IUCN lists the Le Conte's Thrasher as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) Cornell's All About Birds - Le Conte's Thrasher

2) Audubon Guide - Le Conte's Thrasher

3) California Partners in Flight - Le Conte's Thrasher

Photo Information: Photo taken by Julio Mulero - May 16th, 2011 - Kern County, California - Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Le Conte's Thrasher - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Le Conte's Thrasher Photos (coming soon!!)