Catharus Guttatus – Hermit Thrush

Catharus Guttatus - Hermit Thrush found in the US

The Hermit Thrush, Catharus Guttatus is a small thrush found in North America. It is not closely related to the other migratory Catharus species found in North America, but to the Mexican russet nightingale-thrush. The specific epithet guttatus means “spotted” in Latin.

Quick Overview: Catharus Guttatus – Hermit Thrush
Body size: Around 6.75 in (17 cm) and a weight of 31 g (1.1 oz)
Main colors: White, Olive-brown, Gray-brown, Gray
Range: Western and the Northeastern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: January, February, March, April, May, September, October, November, December
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Hermit Thrush Description

A conspicuous white eye-ring, an indistinct whitish bar above the lores, a darkly speckled breast and sides of throat, olive-brown to gray-brown dorsal coloring, a white ventral side with buffy to grayish flanks, and various amounts of reddish wash on flight feathers and tail. This thrush has no evident sexual dimorphism.

Catharus Guttatus - Hermit Thrush found in the US
Catharus Guttatus – Hermit Thrush. Photo by: Becky Matsubara

Size

These birds have a length of 6.75 in (17 cm) and a weight of 31 g (1.1 oz). Their wings could range from 11.5 in (29 cm).

Feeding

It feeds on insects, small animals, and fruits of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. They scavenge from leaves while perched or hovering or probe into the ground or dead wood for nourishment. The amount of meat and vegetable material in Hermit Thrush diets varies. They eat more animal stuff in the spring and summer and more plants (particularly berries) in the fall and winter.

Habitat

Hermit thrushes feed on a variety of woodland plants. Types of juvenile to climax forest vegetation with internal forest margins. These birds inhabit inner forest vegetation near ponds, meadows, or tiny man-made clearings.  

Behavior

Hermit thrushes may be differentiated from other similar thrushes in the field by their singing and tail- and wing-flicking. When a bird lands, it may rise and lower its tail swiftly. It also produces a characteristic “tchup” call. When perched, hermit thrushes swiftly stretch their wings from their bodies before returning them to their sides.

Catharus Guttatus Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Turdibae
  • Genus: Catharus
  • Species: Catharus guttatus

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the Winter season (December- February) in the Southern part and the Spring season (March-May) and during the Autumn season (September – November) in the Northeastern part.

Distribution of the Hermit Thrush in the USA

They breed in northern hardwood woods, boreal and highland coniferous forests across North America, and in both North and Central America in the winter. They breed across the western and northeastern US, Alaska, and parts of southern Canada. The winter northern limit in the United States extends from southern Massachusetts to southern Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Their winter range extends from the Gulf of Mexico south to Oaxaca. They are year-round residents of New Mexico and eastern Arizona.

The Hermit Thrush can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Catharus Guttatus – Hermit Thrush

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