Grey or Gray Thrashers

Thrashers

The Grey Thrashers, Toxostoma cinereum, are medium-sized thrashers found only in the Mexican Baja California peninsula, where they favor deserts with cacti, as well as frequenting adjacent scrubby woodland and areas with scattered bushes and trees.   These ground foragers are often seen running on the ground as they search for food.

Gray Thrasher Toxostoma cinereum

Sub-species & Geographic Ranges:

  • Toxostoma cinereum cinereum (nominate race): Occurs in the southern half of Baja California - from the Cape District of southern Baja California
    • Toxostoma cinereum mearnsi: The sub-species occupies the northern half of Baja California; where it inhabits the desert scrub of western Baja California 

Description: 

These greyish-brown thrashers are named for the color of their upper plumage with cinnamon tones on the rump. Their chest is whitish with arrow-shaped black spots They have orangey-yellow eyes and a slightly arched bill.  The outer tail feathers have white tips.

Size:  Length (including tail) 21.4 to 25.0 cm (8.4 to 9.8 in) 

Weight:  males weigh between ~ 58.6 to 69.8 g (2.07 to 2.46 oz) and females between ~ 54.4 g (1.92 oz).

Subspecies differences:  The T.C. mearnsi subspecies has an overall darker plumage.    

Similar Birds:  

  • Cactus Wren:  Slightly smaller in size. Can be identified by their white eyebrows, dark eyes, shorter bill and boldly barred tails.  .
  • Sage Thrasher: Smaller in size; smaller bill.    

Diet / Feeding

These thrashers generally feed on the ground and, to a lesser extent, in fruiting trees and bushes. They are believed to mainly feed on cactus fruit and arthropods   They are ground feeders for the most part, although may forage in fruiting trees and bushes. 

Breeding:

Nests are typically placed low to the ground - no higher than 3 m (9.8 ft).  A clutch may consist of two to four eggs.

The mearnsi subspecies breeds in March and April; and the nominate race from May to mid-July.

They mostly build their nests with twigs and line them with various grasses and other softer material.  Nests are placed in cacti, thorny shrubs and mesquite trees.

Calls / Vocalizations:

Their calls are described as a "loud, fairly scratchy warbling" which is repeated two or three times; as well as a ."rolled, rippling to rough whirr-rr-rr or chirr-rri-rrit" and a horse "chrek".

Global Names:

  • Catalan: mim becut maculat
  • Chinese: 灰弯嘴嘲鸫 / 灰矢嘲鶇
  • Czech: drozdec šedý
  • Danish: Bajarøddrossel
  • Dutch: Grijze Spotlijster
  • German: Grauspottdrossel
  • Finnish: kaktussirppimatkija
  • French: Moqueur gris
  • Croatian: pjegavoprsi raznopojac
  • Icelandic: Gráþrasi
  • Italian: Mimo grigio
  • Japanese:  haiirotsugumimodoki / ハイイロツグミモドキ
  • Lithuanian: Pilkoji pašaipa
  • Norwegian: Bajaspottefugl
  • Polish: przedrzeźniacz szary
  • Portuguese: debulhador-cinzento
  • Russian: Серый пересмешник
  • Slovak: drozdec sivý
  • Serbian: Sivi raznopojacSpanish: Cuitlacoche Ceniciento
  • Swedish: grå härmtrast
  • Ukrainian: Тремблер сірий

 

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