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California Thrasher Toxostoma redivivum


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California Thrasher
credit: Kevin Cole/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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

Description ADULT Has mostly plain and unmarked, rich brown upperparts with subtly paler underparts flushed orange-buff on belly, flanks, and undertail coverts. Head pattern comprises subtle buff supercilium and pale throat bordered by dark malar stripe. JUVENILE Similar to adult.

Dimensions Length: 11-13" (28-33 cm)

Habitat Fairly common resident of chaparral- covered slopes.

Observation Tips Easiest to see in spring.

Range Northwest, California

Voice An accomplished mimic, but typical song comprises chirping, whistling, and chattering phrases, each typically repeated 2-3 times; call is a soft tchak.

Discussion Similar to Crissal, but ranges do not overlap and habitat preferences differ. Note also California's dark iris (yellow in Crissal), hint of a supercilium, lack of white "mustache" bordering dark malar stripe, and marginally shorter bill. Mostly secretive and keeps to dense cover, but sometimes seen running, tail cocked, from one thicket to another. Male sings from exposed perch, mostly in late winter and early spring, but occasionally at other seasons. Sexes are similar.