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Curve-billed Thrashers are relatively common in southern Arizona. They are a southwestern species with a range that extends well down into Mexico. In this country their range includes the southern parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
They are fairly large birds, somewhat larger than Northern Mockingbirds, their distant cousins. Their yellow eyes and long, downward curved beaks give them a grumpy looking expression that makes it seem as if they are always annoyed.
In truth, the expression has nothing to do with these birds’ state of mind. They are actually completely inoffensive. They aren’t predatory. They generally forage at or close to ground level, using their long beaks to dig around in the underbrush for food, consisting mainly of insects and other invertebrates. At the Elkhorn Ranch, where I photographed them last week, they displayed an appetite for bird seed.
One doesn’t often see these birds out in the open. I was lucky to be able to see them in abundance while at the ranch.
Curve-billed Thrashers are members of a family of birds known as “Mimids.” The Mimids include all thrasher species, catbirds, and mockingbirds. Members of this family are well known for their intricate songs. A Curve-billed Thrasher, when it is in the right mood, utters a song consisting of a variety of whistles, trills, and chirps, that lasts for several seconds. These birds are great improvisers and vary their songs as the mood strikes them.
Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 100-400 f4.5-5.6 ISII zoom lens+1.4x telextender, aperture priority setting. The first image shot at ISO 400, the second and third images shot at ISO 500. The first image shot at f8 @ 1/320. The second, at f8 @ 1/1250. The third, at f8 @ 1/400.