Brown Thrasher Facts

Moumita Dutta
Nov 16, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
Brown thrasher facts are great for kids.

Are you interested to know about one of the most abundant bird species that are found in different parts of North America?

If yes, then you have come to the right place to know more about the brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum), a bird species that is mainly found in the Northern American countries of Canada and the USA. These species are also found in the east of the Rocky Mountains as well as central Texas.

These birds enjoy living in warm, dry climates, and they have an affinity for living in warm forest edges and dense thickets.

The brown top of these birds has given them their name along with their habit of foraging on the ground with their long bill that produces a thrashing sound. These North American birds can produce more than one thousand songs, and the males especially use a loud mating call during the breeding season.

The birds from the northern parts of their range also migrate towards the southern parts of their range during the cold season and sometimes for breeding in warmer parts.

They have a low survival rate in the first couple of years of their life because of the presence of predators like bigger birds and snakes. Find them interesting?

Keep on reading to learn more Brown Thrasher facts.

Also, check out the articles on the Humboldt penguin and the Macaroni penguin to know more about bird species.

Brown Thrasher Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a brown thrasher?

The brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) is a songbird native to North America.

What class of animal does a brown thrasher belong to?

The brown thrasher belongs to the class Aves and from the family Mimidae.

How many brown thrashers are there in the world?

It is common to see the brown thrashers in several parts of Canada and the USA. Any conclusive study to find their exact population status is yet to be done. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status is Least Concern.

Where does a brown thrasher live?

The brown thrasher likes to hide in vegetation. So, these birds of North America are found in forests and thickets of Canada and the USA.

The geographical range includes south-eastern Canada along with eastern, south-eastern, and central parts of the United States. These birds can migrate towards the eastern side of Central Texas and southern Canada during the colder months. They are also the only thrasher species found abundantly in areas of the Rocky Mountains and central Texas.

What is a brown thrasher's habitat?

The brown thrasher prefers warm and dry climates. Their habitat includes thick forests and dense thickets. That is why they are mostly seen in central Texas, which provides them with the perfect habitat. Sometimes, the brown thrasher can also be found in warm suburban and agricultural areas. The birds do search for a warmer habitat in the colder months.

Who do brown thrashers live with?

In its native habitat, the brown thrashers have mostly been seen solo or in pairs. They mainly form pairs during the mating season. The male brown thrashers are known for being extremely territorial, and they can often behave aggressively with other birds. More information about their living style is yet to be known by researchers.

How long does a brown thrasher live?

The lifespan of the brown thrasher range between 10-12 years. However, a lot of it depends on their probability of survival.

Brown thrasher eggs are often predated by other birds and animals, bringing down the rate of hatching. In the first and second years of the brown thrasher's life, the survival rate of the brown thrasher fledglings can just be 35%. The survival rate of these birds of North America does improve as they age.

How do they reproduce?

Reproduction is necessary for the survival of all animals, and the brown thrashers take this quite seriously. The brown thrasher nesting habits may include moving to a warmer place to give their eggs the maximum chance of survival.

Some may even move towards the Great Plains for successful breeding. The breeding season of the brown thrashers depends on their geographical area.

The breeding in the birds living in the southern areas may take place during the months of February and March. In comparison, the breeding in the northern parts takes place in May and June.

Breeding can take place over huge territories. The male uses a loud song as a call for a potential mate, and they can be aggressive and territorial towards other birds. The nesting starts soon, and the brown thrasher nest is mainly made of twigs with a layer of grass on the inside.

The usual litter size of the brown thrashers is between three and five eggs. The eggs have a blueish or greenish tinge with red-brown spots.

The incubation period of the eggs lasts for two weeks. The incubation is mainly done by the females, and the male brown thrasher mainly helps in collecting the food.

It takes up to 13 days for a hatchling to turn into a fledgling. These North American birds may have two or three broods in a year.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the brown thrasher is listed in the status of Least Concern.

Brown Thrasher Fun Facts

What do brown thrashers look like?

The very name brown thrasher gives away the fact that they are brown in color. The feathers of this bird species are usually brown at the top and white at the bottom.

There are splotches of brown on their bottom half, which makes the birds look even more beautiful. They have a long tail which can often be of a darker color.

The birds also have teardrop-shaped markings on their breast area. They have beautiful yellow eyes which are lined with black and white marks. The brown thrasher's wings have black and white wing bars that are clearly visible.

There are little to no differences seen between the males and female birds of this species. One of the subspecies of the brown thrasher is the long-billed thrasher (T.rufum longirostre).

If we want to discuss the difference between the long-billed thrasher vs. brown thrasher, it mainly lies in their appearance. The long-billed variant has gray underparts compared to the white of the usual brown thrasher.

They also have orange eyes and a straight bill. Even the brown thrasher has a long bill to help them go through the ground litter; however, their bills have a slight bend.

After hatching from the egg, the Brown Thrasher slowly grows similar to their parents.

At a young age, the only difference in appearance lies in the spotting present in their underpart as well as in their olive or gray colored eyes. You can always refer to a brown thrasher drawing to have a better understanding of the Northern American bird species.

Another key comparison comes up as the wood thrush vs. brown Thrasher debate. The brown thrasher doesn't belong to the thrush family, and they are often larger in size compared to the wood thrush, and the latter also has plain unbanded wings.

How cute are they?

The North American brown thrasher is certainly a cute animal because of its reddish-brown and white plumage that makes them look exquisite.

How do they communicate?

The brown thrasher's calls and sounds are the main forms of communication for the birds. They use vocalization even while young when their calls almost sound or song have an alarm-like quality. Even though the species can produce a lot of songs, these birds rarely mimic other birds.

The males often produce louder calls compared to the female thrasher. The adult calls are also described as smack and teeooo-like alarm calls. Some also describe it as a churr or puck sound.

How big is a brown thrasher?

The average length of the brown thrasher birds is 9.3-12.0 in (23.5-30.5 cm). They are quite bigger than similar species found in their families. They are almost equal to the size of Robins and blue jays, which reach a maximum length of 9–12 in (22–30 cm).

How fast can a brown thrasher fly?

The brown thrasher birds have a wingspan of around 11-13 in (29-33 cm), which is similar to the length of their body.

The wing helps the species to have a smooth, and the birds are known for maintaining a low-level flying. However, as they are a wild species, not much data is found about the exact speed of the brown thrasher in flight.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology states that the brown thrashers move at a speed of  2.7 in (7.1 cm) when foraging for food through the leaf litter and the ground.

How much does a brown thrasher weigh?

The average weight of brown thrashers is around  2.2-3.1 oz (61-89 g). The weight of the species may vary according to their or even their habitat.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for the males and females of the brown thrasher species.

What would you call a baby brown thrasher?

The baby or juvenile brown thrasher is known as a hatchling just after hatching from the egg. When the brown thrasher baby gets out of the nest, it is known as a fledgling.

What do they eat?

The brown thrasher diet is omnivorous, so the birds eat a number of things. It includes insects, arthropods, seeds, fruits, and nuts.

The brown thrashers are known for searching for food on the ground, and they may go through leaf litter with their long bill. Because of their foraging habit, the bird may also nest on the ground giving them a peculiar nesting habit.

The babies will also eat seeds, fruits, berries, and insects brought by their parents. If you find a baby brown thrasher, it is advisable to contact a doctor before giving them any food.

Are they aggressive?

The brown thrashers aren't aggressive birds, but they can get irritated and territorial during the breeding season. They like to protect their nest from predators, which may include humans and dogs. So, if you spot a brown thrasher near your house, it is better to let them be alone. The female brown thrasher is not that aggressive.

Would they make a good pet?

No, the brown thrasher is a wild bird. So, they aren't meant for keeping as pets. It is hard to mimic their warm and natural habitats, and it can be difficult to keep them alive.

It is better to let the bird species roam in the wild. If you live near a suburban area, you may even leave them some seeds or grains to enjoy. However, they have been kept as pets in the past, especially for the extensive brown thrasher song.

Did you know...

Georgia's state bird is the brown thrasher. It is mainly because of the brown thrashers being widely found in the state.

Some of the predators of the birds include gray catbirds, eastern yellowbelly racers, common garter snakes, great plains rat snakes, milk snakes, domestic cats, and Peregrine falcons. The predators may even attack their nest in the hunt of eggs. The brown thrasher may protect their nest from predators by chasing them away from their nest.

How many 'songs' can the brown thrasher sing?

As a songbird, the songs of the brown thrasher are quite important. The male brown thrashers are also known for their loud call during the breeding season, which helps them to woo the female brown thrashers.

They can produce more than 1,100 song types. Especially the males of this North American bird are known for having one of the largest song repertoires among all North American birds.

How does the brown thrasher get its name?

The brown thrasher species derives its name from the thrashing sound that it makes while moving its long bill back and forth through a pile of leaves. Some also believe that their name has connected with the word 'thrush' but that isn't true.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the shrike and the pileated woodpecker.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our brown thrasher coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You


See All

Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti Chaudhary picture

Smriti ChaudharyBachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti, a student data scientist, and coder, is pursuing her Bachelor of Technology at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering. She has achieved top rankings in the International English Olympiad, National Spelling Bee, and PSAT/SAT English Section. She is experienced in content creation and editing for various academic institutions.

Read full bio >