Catharus Minimus – Gray-Cheeked Thrush

Catharus Minimus - Gray-Cheeked Thrush found in the US

Grey-cheeked thrushes, Catharus minimus are little thrushes. This species has the typical white-dark-white underwing pattern of Catharus thrushes. It is a part of a small group of migratory species that includes the veery and Bicknell’s thrush; combined with the latter, it forms a cryptic species pair. Except for its somewhat bigger size and distinct singing, the grey-cheeked thrush is virtually indistinguishable from Bicknell’s thrush.

Quick Overview: Catharus Minimus – Gray-Cheeked Thrush
Body size: Around 6.5-8 in (17-20 cm) and a weight of 34 g (1.2 oz)
Main colors: Olive-brown, Gray, Pink, White, Yellow
Range: Northeastern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: March, April, May, September, October, November
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Gray-Cheeked Thrush Description

Both sexes have a similar appearance and a peculiar song that is extremely high pitched with rapid chippers. Their upper bodies are olive-brown, their faces are gray, and their legs are pink. White underparts with grAy flanks. Additionally, it sports a grAyish, unclear eye-ring with yellow lining in the mouth.

Catharus Minimus - Gray-Cheeked Thrush found in the US
Catharus Minimus – Gray-Cheeked Thrush. Source: Wikipedia


These birds have a length of 6.5-8 in (17-20 cm) and a weight of 34 g (1.2 oz). Their wings could range from 11.5-13.5 in (29-34 cm). 


The Gray-Cheeked Thrush is primarily an insect eater, preferring beetles, weevils, ants, wasps, and caterpillars. Additionally, they may eat spiders, crayfish, sow bugs, and earthworms. Additionally, grapes, wild cherries, blackberries, and raspberries are consumed.


The occupant of northern Canada and Alaska’s boreal forest. Their winter habitat is unknown. They will seek shelter behind huge boulders in poorly vegetated areas of the arctic.


Males sing from a low tree or shrub’s top. They sing mostly during dawn and dusk. Except during the mating season, they occasionally sing during the day.

Catharus Minimus Scientific Classification

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

Best time of the year to see

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

Distribution of the Gray-cheeked Thrush in the USA

Breeds from northern Alaska to Newfoundland, then south to northern British Columbia, northern Ontario, and central Quebec. During the winters, he travels to Central and South America.

The Gray-cheeked thrush can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Catharus Minimus – Gray-Cheeked Thrush

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