Toxostoma Rufum – Brown Thrasher

Toxostoma crissale - Crissal thrasher photo capture in surprise

The Toxostoma rufum or commonly known as a brown thrasher is a New World catbird and mockingbird family member. The brown thrasher is abundant throughout the eastern and central United States and southern and central Canada, and it is the only thrasher to live primarily east of the Rockies and central Texas. These birds are a large thrasher genus in the family of Mimidae.

Quick Overview: Toxostoma Rufum – Brown Thrasher
Body size: Around 11.5 in (29 cm) and a weight of 68 g (2.4 oz)
Main colors: White, Black, Yellow, Brown Range: Eastern and the Central United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: January, February, June, July, August, September, December
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Brown Thrasher Description

The buffy underparts of the brown thrasher are streaked with thin dark streaks. Its chest is whitish in color with distinct teardrop-shaped markings. It has a long rufous tail with paler corners and bright yellow eyes. Its long, brownish bill curves downward. Males and females look alike. The brown thrasher juvenile differs from the adult-only in plumage texture, inconspicuous upper part markings, and olive irises.

Toxostoma crissale - Crissal thrasher photo capture in surprise
Toxostoma Crissale – Crissal Thrasher. Photo by: 611catbirds, too


These birds have a length of 11.5 in (29 cm) and a weight of 68 g (2.4 oz). Their wings could range from 12.5-14 in (32-36 cm).


Brown thrashers eat insects, mostly beetles, fruits, and nuts. They hunt for food in the leaf litter beneath trees and shrubs. These birds rake the soil and leaf litter, scattering leaves.


Brown thrashers inhabit warm, dry habitats like forest edges and thickets. They live in suburban and rural areas.


During the breeding season, these birds are usually found in pairs or with young ones. Competition for habitat and breeding areas. As a result of this competition, birds like gray catbirds attack.

Toxostoma Rufum Scientific Classification

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

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States are during summer (June to September) and winter (December to February).

Distribution of the Brown thrasher in the USA

It breeds in the United States and Canada east of the Rocky Mountains but has been seen west of the Rockies. The increase in trees across the Great Plains over the last century has allowed the brown thrasher and other birds to expand their ranges westward.

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

Toxostoma Rufum – Brown Thrasher

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