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Bendire's Thrasher Toxostoma bendirei


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Bendire's Thrasher
credit: Jerry Oldenettel/CCSA

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Family: Mimidae, Mockingbirds and Thrashers view all from this family

Description ADULT Has sandy brown plumage overall with unmarked upperparts, except for two subtle, buff wing bars. Note the faint, buff supercilium and yellowish iris. Bill is only very slightly downcurved. Throat is pale with a buffy malar stripe and underparts are marked with subtle arrowhead spots, concentrated mainly on breast; toward end of breeding season, birds with worn plumage show reduced spotting. Undertail coverts are warm orange-buff and tail is mostly dark, but with white tips, most noticeable on outer feathers. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but with less distinct spots on underparts.

Dimensions Length: 9-11" (23-28 cm)

Habitat Locally common in deserts where yuccas, scrub, and grassland predominate. Present year-round in south of range, but summer visitor to north.

Observation Tips Look for it in late winter.

Range California, Southwest

Voice Song is a series of musical, but slightly grating warbling phrases, several delivered without pause for breath; call is a soft tchuk.

Discussion Similar to juvenile Curve-billed, which has straighter shorter bill than adult; possibility for confusion exists, May-Aug, in limited zone of overlap. Habitat preferences and calls are useful pointers for separation. Mostly secretive, bordering on furtive, but in late winter and early spring males often sing from exposed perch. Sexes are similar.