Myadestes Townsendi – Townsend’s Solitaire

Myadestes Townsendi - Townsend's Solitaire found in the US

The Townsend’s solitaire, Myadestes townsendi is a medium-sized thrush that is the only native solitaire found north of Mexico. Townsend’s Solitaire is a graceful, wide-eyed songbird native to western mountain forests. Their sweet jumbling song alerts people to their presence and animates their evergreen forest and juniper woodland habitats.

Quick Overview: Myadestes Townsendi – Townsend’s Solitaire
Body size: Around 8-9 in (20-23 cm) and a weight of 34 g (1.2 oz)
Main colors: Gray, White
Range: Northwest United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: January, February, December
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Townsend’s Solitaire Description

Gray birds with prominent white eyerings, Townsend’s Solitaires are gray birds. In-flight, their buffy wing patches and white outer tail feathers are frequently visible. Juveniles are mostly dark gray with buff and white spots, giving them a scaly appearance.

Myadestes Townsendi - Townsend's Solitaire found in the US
Myadestes Townsendi – Townsend’s Solitaire. Photo by: dfaulder

Size

These birds have a length of 8-9 in (20-23 cm) and a weight of 34 g (1.2 oz). Their wings could range from 13-14.5 in (33-37 cm).  

Feeding

The majority of the time, insects and fruit. Feeds on a variety of insects, most notably caterpillars, beetles, ants, true bugs, and others, as well as spiders and other invertebrates. In the winter, the majority of the diet may consist of berries and tiny fruits, such as of juniper, mistletoe, and hackberry.

Habitat

Townsend’s Solitaires are found in open pine, fir, and spruce woods in hilly locations with elevations ranging from around 1,100 to 11,500 feet. During the non-breeding season, some Townsend’s Solitaires migrate short distances to lower elevations, particularly to areas with an abundance of juniper berries.

Behavior

Throughout the fall and winter, the Townsend’s Solitaire sings to establish and maintain its winter territory. Violent conflict may erupt in defense of the winter territory, as owners of big, berry-rich territories survive the winter at a higher rate than solitaires on tiny, berry-less territories.

Myadestes Townsendi Scientific Classification

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

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the winter season (December to February).

Distribution of the Townsend’s Solitaire in the USA

Breeds in the highlands of Alaska and the Northwest Territories, as well as in British Columbia, South Dakota, California, and central Mexico. Winters from southern Canada to the United States

The Townsend’s Solitaire 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.

Myadestes Townsendi – Townsend’s Solitaire

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