Hylocichla Mustelina – Wood Thrush

It is an American passerine bird (Hylocichla mustelina). It is closely related to other thrushes like the American robin and winters in Central America and southern Mexico. The wood thrush is the District’s official bird. The wood thrush has brown upperparts and brown and white underparts. Male and female look alike. Male music is generally referred to as the most beautiful in North America.

Quick Overview: Hylocichla Mustelina – Wood Thrush
Body size: Around 7.75-8 in (20-20.5 cm) and a weight of 48 g (1.7 oz)
Main colors: Cinnamon-Brown, Olive-Brown, White, Brown, Red
Range: Eastern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: June, July, August, September
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Wood Thrush Description

Their crown and neck are warm cinnamon-brown, while their back, wings, and tail are olive-brown. The breast, sides, and flanks are white with big dark brown markings. Wood thrushes have a dull white eye-ring. Their legs and bill are reddish. Male and female wood thrushes are the same size. Adults have more spots on their backs, necks, and wing coverts than juveniles.

Hylocichla Mustelina – Wood Thrush. Photo by: Fishhawk


These birds have a length of 7.75-8 in (20-20.5 cm) and a weight of 48 g (1.7 oz). Their wings could range from 13-14 in (33-36 cm).


Its diet consists of invertebrates and larvae, although it also eats fruits in late summer, fall, and winter. They eat insects, snails, and tiny salamanders. Post-breeding and pre-migration wood thrushes move from insects to lipid-rich fruits. Summer low fruit intake and lipid reserves force birds to graze on insects to satisfy daily metabolic demands.


Wood thrushes breed in deciduous and mixed woodlands. A late-successional highland mesic forest with a thick shrub cover is ideal. Heightier trees, open forest floors, wet soil, and leaf litter are all needed for wood thrush nesting habitat. Per Bertin (1977), wood thrushes prefer locations with flowing water, wet soil, and dense understory cover. Dry soil is more crucial than shade or availability to flowing water.


Wood thrushes are usually solitary, but in the winter they form mixed-species groups. Their range is between 0.08 to 2.8 hectares. Territories are utilized for breeding, gathering nest ingredients, and foraging, but not for travel. Winter wood thrushes may defend a feeding area. Territorial conflicts are normally resolved without physical contact, but high-intensity bouts or nest protection require foot or bill contact.

Hylocichla Mustelina Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Turdidae
  • Genus: Hylocichla
  • Species: Hylocichla mustelina


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Other common names

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Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the summer season (June – September).

Distribution of the Wood Thrush in the USA

They breed from southern Canada to northern Florida, and from the Atlantic coast to the Missouri River and the eastern Great Plains. Wood thrushes winter in Mexico and Central America, especially on coastal lowlands.

The Wood Thrush can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Hylocichla Mustelina – Wood Thrush

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