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Bird Gallery

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher

© Alan Murphy

Toxostoma rufum

Family: (Mimidae) Thrashers, Mockingbirds, Catbird

Preferred Habitat: Woodlands and hedgerows

Seasonal Occurrence: Abundant November through April

Profile by Glenn Olsen: The Brown Thrasher is a year round resident of the southeastern United States, including eastern Texas. The breeding range extends into central, northeastern, and north-central United States, the southern parts of Canada and to the central provinces. In Texas, the Brown Thrasher will range throughout the eastern one third of the state. However, it is more commonly found in the far eastern counties. This beautiful bird is in the same family as the mockingbird and has a rich, melodious song often heard during springtime in breeding territory. To my ear, it is richer in tone and more elegant than most other songsters.

The Brown Thrasher is slim bodied and long tailed. It is rusty to cinnamon reddish-brown above, including the head, nape, back and upper tail. The throat, breast and belly are soft white with large brown to chocolate brown streaking and buffy flanks. The bill is fairly long and adults have bright yellow eyes. When seen up close or with good optics the subtle but striking beauty of this bird can be quite surprising.

A bird of the underbrush and thickets, the Brown Thrasher is frequently found on or near the ground; under shrubs or at the edges of openings turning over leaves with its bill looking for insects, seeds and other food items. We have greater numbers in our area during the fall and winter months. During this time, they may also be found 4 to 20 feet off the ground feeding on the fruit of viburnums, hackberries, oaks, elderberry, American beautyberry, Virginia creeper, various hollies and many other native plants.

This is the only thrasher that regularly occurs in our area and a trip to see this elegant bird this fall or winter would be an enjoyable and rewarding outing. Sheldon Lake State Park and Bear Creek Park are two places fairly close where one may find the often overlooked beautiful Brown Thrasher.