Return to Main Page   Dakota Birder Blog    

Veery

Catharus fuscescens

Length: 7 to 7.5 inches Wingspan: 11 inches Seasonality: Migrant / Summer
ID Keys: Tawny brown upperparts, white underparts with pale spotting on breast, plain face, black upper mandible and pinkish lower mandible with a black tip.  

Veery - Catharus fuscescensThe Veery is a temporary summer resident of forests of the northern U.S. and southern Canada, migrating northward relatively late in spring and leaving in late summer.  They are most commonly seen hopping along the forest floor as they search for insects and other prey items.  It's beautiful song is a common summer sound in much of the northern U.S., especially near sunset.

Habitat: During the summer breeding season, they are found in thickets and dense forest understories, often near water.  They usually avoid areas without a significant understory.  They are found in similar environments during migration and in winter in the tropics.

Diet: The summer diet is mostly insects and spiders, as well as centipedes, snails, and small amphibians.  During the winter months, they also consume great amounts of fruits and berries.

Behavior: Forages low in the vegetation or along the ground.  They will sometimes poke at decaying logs and flip over leaves at stones in search of insects.  They also can hover while picking insects from foliage, and will occasionally fly out from a perch to snag a flying insect in mid-air.

Nesting: June and July

Song: Pleasant descending whistling, veeyurr, veeyurr, veer, veer.  Click here for the Veery's song.  Also, click for the Veery's call.

Migration: Summers throughout much of the northern United States and southern Canada, as well as at higher elevations in the central Rockies and the Appalachians.  Winters in the tropics.

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Veery sightings

Similar Species: Wood Thrush, Hermit Thrush

South Dakota "Hotspot": Veeries are common summer breeders in Spearfish Canyon in the Black Hills.  They were extremely common and easy to find around Roughlock Falls in the Canyon in July 2008, with very active singing and movement early in the morning and late in the evening.

Conservation Status: There are indications that populations may be in decline in recent decades.  Increased access to nests for Brown-headed Cowbirds has increased parasitism, due to forest fragmentation and more edge habitat favorable for Cowbirds. However, they are still found across a broad geographic area and are common in parts of their range. The IUCN considers the Veery to be a species of "Least Concern"

Further Information: 1) WhatBird - Veery

2) Wikipedia - Veery

3) Audubon Field Guide - Veery

Photo Information: July 8th, 2008 - Near Roughlock Falls in Spearfish Canyon - Terry Sohl

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

 

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Veery - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Veeries are rare migrants throughout most of the state.  However, they are locally common in the extreme northeastern part of the state, and in Spearfish Canyon in the Black Hills.  They are rare summer residents elsewhere in the Black Hills.

Additional Veery Photos
 Veery - Catharus fuscescensVeery - Catharus fuscescensVeery - Catharus fuscescens