Varied Thrush

Appearance of the Varied Thrush

Of the two genders, male Varied Thrushes have the most vibrant colors. Their typical color pattern includes a burnt-orange throat, chest and belly that is interrupted by a black band under the throat. Their backs are a dull gray and their wings are checked with orange, black and gray.

Their head plumage is quite striking, featuring a black eye band that meets with their “necklace.” The top of their head includes a black cap. Their cap, eye band and necklace are separated by a field of orange.

Females have a similar pattern, but with muted coloring. The black patches on their head and neck are replaced by gray.

Varied Thrushes are fairly large birds – measuring as long as 10 inches and can have a wingspan of 15 inches.

Their song is often described as a long, flat call with a slight buzzing to it.

Geography of the Varied Thrush

These birds have a long range that can take them south to Baja California in Mexico and as far north as Nome, Alaska. Breeding draws them north in the summer, where they will normally nest in a wide region beginning at the very tip of northern California to the heart of Alaska. In the winter, they tend to stick to the warmer Pacific Northwest regions of the U.S. and Canada as well as the sunnier climates of California.

Varied Thrushes migrate along the Pacific Flyway. Wayward Varied Thrushes have been discovered as far east as Maine.

Local Environments of the Varied Thrush

Deep coniferous forests

These birds prefer deep coniferous forests and stands of trees containing mature conifers. You can often spot them bounding around a damp, dewy forest floor where they search through the nooks and crannies for tasty bugs. Their love for the deep forest makes these iconic birds of the Pacific Northwest


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