Brown Thrasher

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A brown thrasher moves its long bill back and forth through a pile of leaves like a broom sweeping the floor. Leaves scatter into the air as the bird pokes into the soil and finds a small beetle to eat. It quickly digests the tiny insect and then moves on to the next pile of leaves and dirt using its strong beak to thrash around for more food.



Native to North America, the brown thrasher can be found in the eastern and central sections of the United States and in southeastern parts of Canada in winter. In summer, some migrate to western parts of the United States and Canada. These birds live in thickets and at the edge of forests. They prefer warmer weather and migrate to the southern parts of their range during the winter. The brown thrasher is the state bird of Georgia.


Male and female brown thrashers look alike. Their heads, bodies, and tails are a brownish, rust color. Their bellies are white with black, teardrop-shaped markings. These birds have long legs, bright yellow eyes, and bills that are long and straight.



This type of bird eats small insects, fruits, and nuts. Brown thrashers find their food by thrashing, or swinging, their bills back and forth to sweep through leaves and probe the dirt.



Peregrine falcons and gray catbirds prey on brown thrashers. The birds are also eaten by various types of snakes, including king snakes, garter snakes, black rat snakes, and milk snakes.



Brown thrashers are aggressive birds that are fiercely protective of their nests and territories. But they’re also superstar singers. The male brown thrasher can sing more songs than any other North American bird. With a playlist of over 1,100 different tunes, these birds are incredibly vocal.


Text by April Capochino Myers



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