Return of Bird of the Week: Clay-colored Thrush

Clay-colored Thrush, Turdus Grayi, Costa Rica

The Clay-colored Thrush is the American Robin of Central America: widely distributed, common to abundant across its range and adapted to areas of human disturbance. It’s a bit drab, even for a thrush, with a brown back and a paler brown chest and belly – clay-colored, yellowish bill and grayish to pinkish legs. Even if it is drab, it is the national bird of Costa Rica.

This species’ diet is much like the American Robin’s: insects, insect larvae, earthworms, fruit and the occasional small vertebrate.

It’s found from the lower Rio Grande River Valley in southern Texas in the north to northern Columbia at the southern limit of its range. Across that range, there may be as many as nine subspecies, although some ornithologists raged the purported subspecies as just minor color variations.

Clay-colored Thrush, Oaxaca, Mexico

Clay-colored Thrushes time their breeding season to the onset of the rainy season and the increased amount of food available then. The female does most of the nest building. here are 2-3 eggs which the female incubates for 12-13 days. The nestling usually fledge after 13-18 days. The nestlings ar fed by both parents. Only about 32% of nestlings survive to fledge.

Clay-colored Thrush portrait, Panama

The Clay-colored Thrush, perhaps because of its abundance and range, is better studied than most Neotropic birds, but there are still surprising gaps in knowledge. For example, there is no information on life span, although there is one example of a banded bird living at least 9.75 years. In Costa Rica, the species a target of the cage bird trade; Costa Ricans find its song delightful, although the charm is lost on WC. Despite that risk, and based on the incomplete information that is available, the IUCN classifies this as a species of Least Concern.

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