Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher
(Toxostoma rufum)

Order:  Passeriformes
Family:  Mimidae

Photo © R. Hambley

Brown Thrasher Information

Length:  approx 11.5"

Habitat:  Brushy edges of woodlands, dry thickets, overgrown fields, early successional woodlands, forest openings such as power-line cuts, shrubby undergrowth in open woods, residential shrubs and hedges.

Diet:  Insects, including beetles, ants, caterpillars, and cicadas; spiders; earthworms, snails, small amphibians; waste grains; nuts, especially acorns.

  Songs and calls of the Brown Thrasher

Additional Information

Brown Thrasher
Habitat, diet, feeding behavior, nesting, migration, and conservation status of this bird. Includes range map, photos, and songs and calls. (From Audubon Field Guide)

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher

© Mike Danzenbaker

Brown Thrasher
Identification Tips

  • Slender bill with base of lower mandible yellow
  • Rufous crown, nape and upperparts
  • Gray face
  • Yellow eye
  • White underparts with heavy black streaking
  • White wing bars
  • Long rufous tail
  • Yellow legs
  • Sexes similar
  • Most often found in dense vegetation in hedgerows, old fields, and wood edges where it often forages on the ground

(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)

Breeding Bird Survey Map,

Brown Thrasher Breeding Map

(Image credit: USGS)

Range in New England

The Brown Thrasher breeds throughout New England, excluding northern Maine.

In Vermont, it breeds most abundantly in the Champlain Valley and Connecticut River Valley. This bird is found in fewer numbers throughout the rest of Vermont, except in the Green Mountains and the Northeast Kingdom, where it is rare or absent.

It breeds throughout New Hampshire but more sparsely in the northern part of the state.

In New England, a few Brown Thrashers winter along the coasts of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Winter Map from eBird

Sightings of the Brown Thrasher Dec-Feb over past 10 years (2009-2019)

Christmas Bird Count Map
Historical CBC Map from USGS