A large (11 ½ inches) songbird, the Brown Thrasher is most easily identified by its rusty-brown back, speckled breast, long rounded tail, and long curved bill. This species may be distinguished from the related Long-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma longirostre) by that species’ paler plumage and from several species of brown New World thrushes by their smaller sizes and shorter tails. Male and female Brown Thrashers are similar to one another in all seasons. The Brown Thrasher breeds across much of the eastern United States and southern Canada. Northerly-breeding populations migrate to the southeastern U.S.and east Texas for the winter. Populations breeding further south are non-migratory. Brown Thrashers breed in a variety of semi-open habitats with large quantities of groundcover, including forest edges, grasslands, and shrubby fields. Birds that migrate south in winter utilize similar habitat types as they do on their breeding grounds further north. Brown Thrashers eat a variety of plant and animal foods, including insects, spiders, berries, and fruits. In appropriate habitat, Brown Thrashers may be seen foraging for food on the ground or in the branches of low bushes and shrubs. A close relative of the mockingbirds, this species is also known for its ability to mimic other birds, and may be identified aurally by its habit of repeating each mimicked bird vocalization twice in a row before moving on (for comparison, the Northern Mockingbird repeats each vocalization three or more times, while the Gray Catbird, another mimic, switches vocalizations for each refrain). Brown Thrashers are primarily active during the day.
- Cavitt, John F. and Carola A. Haas. 2000. Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/557
- Peterson, Roger Tory. Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. Print.
- eBird Range Map - Brown Thrasher. eBird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, N.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://ebird.org/ebird/map/brnthr.
- Toxostoma rufum. Xeno-canto. Xeno-canto Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://xeno-canto.org/browse.php?query=Toxostoma+rufum.
- Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum). The Internet Bird Collection. Lynx Edicions, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://ibc.lynxeds.com/species/brown-thrasher-toxostoma-rufum.
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