Toxostoma Crissale – Crissal Thrasher

Toxostoma crissale - Crissal thrasher in the United States

This large, dark thrasher that is commonly known as Crissal thrasher of the desert regions is able to remain hidden in thickets for the majority of the time, despite its size. Its Latin name is Toxostoma crissale. At certain times of the year, its presence is primarily indicated by its rolling call notes, which can be heard most clearly at dawn and dusk. They are a member of the Mimidae family of insects.

Quick Overview: Toxostoma Crissale – Crissal Thrasher
Body size: Around 10.5-12.5 in (27-32 cm) and a weight of 62 g (2.2 oz)
Main colors: Gray-brown, Gray, Yellow, Black, Chestnut-brown
Range: Southwestern United States
Migratory Bird: No
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: All Year (January – December)
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Crissal thrasher Description

The thrasher is a large bird with gray-brown upper parts and gray underparts that are not streaked. The throat is white with a dark mustache stripe, the eyes are yellow, and the long and strongly decurved black bill is a distinctive feature. The undertail coverts are chestnut-brown and extend for a long distance. Legs and feet are completely black.

Toxostoma crissale - Crissal thrasher in the United States
Toxostoma Crissale – Crissal Thrasher. Photo by: Alan Schmierer


These birds have a length of 10.5-12.5 in (27-32 cm) and a weight of 62 g (2.2 oz). Their wings could range up to 13.14 in (33 cm).


It forages on the ground, tossing leaves and other vegetation with its bill as it consumes insects, spiders, seeds, and berries.


Dense, low scrubby vegetation, such as desert, foothill scrub, and riparian brush, are among the preferred habitats for this species.


The Crissal Thrasher is a difficult bird to see in the arid Southwest due to its preference for dense vegetation for nesting and foraging. Males can be seen singing on open perches in the spring when they are foraging on the ground under dense brush. In contrast to Le Conte’s Thrasher and California Thrasher, the Crissal Thrasher’s bill is the most curved.

Toxostoma Crissale Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Mimidae
  • Genus: Toxostoma
  • Species: Toxostoma crissale

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds is all year round, regardless of the season. This refers to any month of the year between January and December.

Distribution of the Crissal thrasher in the USA

Located in the Southwestern United States (western Texas, southern New Mexico, southern Arizona, southeastern California, extreme southern Nevada, and extreme southwestern Utah) and central Mexico, the crissal thrasher is one of the largest thrashers in the world.

Toxostoma Crissale – Crissal Thrasher

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