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California Thrasher - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by corvidophil
Descanso Gardens, Los Angeles County, California, USA, 16 February 2005
Toxostoma redivivum


T. r. sonomae
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Pacifica, California, USA, 26 January 2021

28–32 cm (11-12½ in)

  • Dark brown upperparts
  • Paler grey-brown underparts
  • Finely streaked face
  • Buff throat patch
  • Long tail
  • Reddish-brown undertail coverts
  • Dark iris
  • Very long black, decurved bill
  • Grey-brown legs and feet

Sexes similar

Similar Species

Crissal Thrasher of Colorado Desert lacks pale supercilium and has deep rust-colored crissum. Ranges do not overlap. LeConte's Thrasher is smaller and paler, also lacks supercillium; prefers sparsely vegetated arroyos and gullies.


Northern populations are darker and browner (less gray).


Northern California south to northern Baja California.



This is a polytypic species consisting of two subspecies:

  • T. r. sonomae:
  • Chaparral belt of northern California (south to Monterey)
  • T. r. redivivum:

A third subspecies pasadenensis is generally considered invalid[4].


Chaparral, Riparian, foothills mixed woods and dense shrubs. Creeks and lake shores. Also residential areas.



Runs on the ground with tail cocked. Inconspicuous except when singing.


The diet includes beetles, spiders, bugs and fruits.


Both sexes build the nest which is hidden dense vegetation. The eggs are incubated for 14 days; the young fledge 14-17 days later.


Song consists of vigorous phrases variously repeated, delivered in a continuous sequence with brief pauses between successive sequences. Females also sing and may pairs may counter-sing. Calls include a low harsh chuck and a loud throaty quip.


Resident with limited dispersal of young.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Cody, M. L. (2020). California Thrasher (Toxostoma redivivum), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.calthr.01
  3. Cody, M. (2020). California Thrasher (Toxostoma redivivum). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/58209 on 3 April 2020).
  4. Lepage D. (2021) [Avibase - https://avibase.ca/20748450 ]. Retrieved 20 February 2021
  5. Whatbird.com
  6. Audubon Field Guide

Recommended Citation

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