Unidentified Catharus Thrush, 6/15/09, Bolinas, CA.

This unusual Thrush was video taped from my gallery on June 15th 2009. It came in to feed in a Red Elderberry and I immediately grabbed my camera. My  first thought was that it might have been a Gray-cheeked Thrush but because I don’t have a lot of experience with that species, I was cautious. I have had several birders look at this footage but alas there seems to be no firm decision as to what species it is. If you have any thoughts or comments, I would really love to know what this bird is.

Keith Hansen


6 thoughts on “Unidentified Catharus Thrush, 6/15/09, Bolinas, CA.

  1. Hi Keith,

    My guess would be Olive-backed Thrush. I do see a hint of buffiness in the malar, unless the video + computer screen color reproduction is fooling me.


  2. I would also say a Swainson’s Thrush, although it looks quite washed out. I’d lean more towards Russet-backed Thrush, given the reduced contrast between the buff of the orbit and superlores compared to the brown of the head.

  3. Keith — I’d say that it’s a SWTH. GCTH would have less pronounced eye rings, blacker lateral throat stripes, among other separating features. They really look more like big, dull HETHs than they do SWTHs. I also think that it may be referable to one of the “eastern” races.

  4. Hi Keith,

    Personally I’d go for Swainson’s Thrush too. Think it is a second year bird (slightly more washed-out primaries).
    Main reasons for me to think about SWTH is the quite prominent eye-ring (Grey-cheeked has only a thin eye-ring) and the somewhat (albeit almost totally faided) yellow tone on the breast.

    Bye the way, how are you doing? Still wearing your T-shirts! 6 years it must have been since I was in Bolinas…

    Miguel, Belgium

  5. Looking at the bird we are leaning more towards the Swainson’s Thrush due to the Buffy eye and marking on the lower cheek. The Bird is also a more distinct Buff color than the Grey Cheeked Thrush.

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