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Category:Catharus - BirdForum Opus

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Genus: Catharus


Thrushes belonging to the genus Catharus are found only in the New World.


Catharus is a genus in the Family Turdidae.

Genus Catharus viewedit
C. gracilirostris Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush
C. aurantiirostris Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush
C. fuscater Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush
C. occidentalis Russet Nightingale-Thrush
C. frantzii Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush
C. mexicanus Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush
C. dryas Yellow-throated Nightingale-Thrush
C. maculatus Speckled Nightingale-Thrush
C. fuscescens Veery
C. minimus Gray-cheeked Thrush
C. bicknelli Bicknell's Thrush
C. ustulatus Swainson's Thrush
C. guttatus Hermit Thrush

A phylogenetic tree based on plumage and morphology will divide the genus into two groups, the group of resident birds (Nightingale-Thrushes) on one side and the migrants (the last five in above list) on the other. A molecular phylogeny (Winker & Pruett 2006), on the other hand, divided the genus into two clades, with Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush, Yellow-throated Nightingale-Thrush, Speckled Nightingale-Thrush, and Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush in one clade, and all the rest in the other clade, such that for example Russet Nightingale-Thrush is close to Hermit Thrush but far from the aforementioned five. One interesting hypothesis the authors make is that when including Forest Thrush in the analysis (the sister species to all the above birds) they think that migratory tendencies appeared independently four times in this group of birds. They also find that the migrants being so similar in plumage must be due to convergent evolution, and does not reflect an original state of affairs.


  1. Clements, James F. 2007. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to October 2007. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801445019
  2. Winker, Kevin & Pruett, Christin L. (2006): Seasonal migration, speciation, and morphological convergence in the avian genus Catharus (Turdidae). Auk 123(4): 1052-1068.

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