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Species Description

Wood Thrush

Hylocichla mustelina


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Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Turdidae

Description

Both sexes are reddish-brown above and white with black spots below. They have a conspicuous white eye-ring and pinkish legs. The Wood Thrush is a medium-sized, stocky songbird about 20 cm long (7.5 in).

Life Cycle

The breeding season lasts from late April through August. The female builds a cup-shaped nest 3-12 cm (10-50 ft) above ground, often in a beech, sweet gum, or maple tree. The female incubates 3 - 4 greenish-blue eggs for 13 days. The young are altricial. Both parents feed them until they fledge from the nest after 12 days. The Brown-headed Cowbird often lays eggs in the nests of Wood Thrushes, resulting in reduced nest success for the thrushes.

Natural History

Wood Thrush habitat is limited to deciduous or mixed forest interiors, and occasionally forest edges. This species primarily forages on the ground in the soil for insect larvae and other invertebrates. In the winter the Wood Thrush eats more fruit. These birds are well-known for their beautiful, flute-like song.

Range

Wood Thrush Region Map The Wood Thrush occurs throughout Georgia where suitable habitat is present during the spring and summer. It ranges throughout the eastern United States.

Conservation Status

These migratory birds are considered the classic example of an interior forest-dwelling bird whose numbers are declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation in the United States as well as in their Central American wintering grounds. Loss and fragmentation of suitable habitat, nest interference by the Brown-headed Cowbird, and high nest predation rates have led observers to give Wood Thrushes a Cautionary status.

Similar Species

In Georgia, the Wood Thrush may be confused with the Hermit Thrush, which is paler overall and olive-brown above.