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Swainson's Thrush

Catharus ustulatus

Description:

Upperparts reddish-brown and underparts are white with brownish flanks. Breasts are light brown with darker brown spots. Some stripes on the sides of the throat. Eyerings are buff to a light brown. Light pink legs.

Habitat:

This one was found in creek gulley with mix group of trees.

Notes:

Similar to the Hermit Thrush. Descriptions in books are hard to separate the two with subtle color differences, spots and eyerings. The other difference is the season where the two overlap and one will displace the other. Less likely to see near urban areas.

1 Species ID Suggestions

Fyn Kynd
Fyn Kynd 7 years ago
Hermit Thrush
Catharus guttatus Hermit Thrush - BirdForum Opus


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12 Comments

Jellis
Jellis 7 years ago

I heard my first Swainson's call. I didn't hear this one so I was surprised when I heard the call and curious on what that sound was. A birder who records them listed to a recording I did and told me. Wow this is one strange call for a small bird.

Hema
Hema 7 years ago

Great work, Jellis!!

Liam
Liam 7 years ago

Agree - buffy superlora supports Swainson's.

Jellis
Jellis 7 years ago

Got confirmation that this is a Swainson's.

Jellis
Jellis 7 years ago

I am still getting conflicting reports. On another site they are saying Swainson's. Quote by another birder "
i would say Swainson's Thrush based on brownish (not grey) flank and not-so-rusty tail color.

Jellis
Jellis 7 years ago

Only saw this one and it was silent. Didn't even notice it there till I saw movement below me. Tried comparing but even with experienced birders I am getting two different answers.

Hema
Hema 7 years ago

Swainson's Thrush resembles the Hermit in being plain brown above and spotted below, but careful study reveals many differences. The sides of a Swainson's Thrush's head are a rich tawny color, those of a Hermit dull gray-brown. The Swainson's eye ring is likewise tawny, a Hermit's whitish. The tawny color extends across the breast and is much deeper than in even subspecies vaccinius of the Hermit. The breast spots are smaller and triangular, not drop-shaped as in the Hermit (the Hermit's scientific name, guttatus, means "having drops" in Latin). Swainson's flanks are brown, not gray as in all the western subspecies of the Hermit (the brown-flanked eastern subspecies of the Hermit has never been proven to reach California). The contrast in the rump and tail, of course, is one of the best marks: in Swainson's the tail is nearly the same russet brown as the back, whereas in the Hermit there is always strong contrast between the rufous tail and brown or grayish back (more in the gray-backed subspecies like slevini and sequoiensis).
http://www.sdnhm.org/archive/research/bi...

Hema
Hema 7 years ago

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/hermi...
scroll down to see comparison between the two.

Hema
Hema 7 years ago

I am interested in seeing the Id too. These are lovely birds. Any chance you heard the call? Hermit Thrushes are extremely melodious.

Jellis
Jellis 7 years ago

So far I had some say it's a Hermit and some saying Swainson's. I found another angle which should help more on the ID. The ones saying Swainson's are saying Hermit is not common at this time of year in this area. It's like the Hermits leave and Swainson's take their place for the summer. But it's still a toss up on if it is a Hermit still hanging around or incomming Swainson's.

Jellis
Jellis 7 years ago

Guess this is going to be harder to get a correct ID

Jellis
Jellis 7 years ago

Are you sure. I just had a local birder says most of the Hermits are gone out of area and its a Swainson's

Jellis
Spotted by
Jellis

Antioch, California, USA

Spotted on May 10, 2013
Submitted on May 13, 2013

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