Curve-billed Thrasher

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Curve-billed Thrashers are among my favorite local species.  These medium-size songbirds are a fairly common sight in the desert and in nearby grasslands.  Their range includes much of the American Southwest, as well as a good bit of Mexico.

Their piercing yellow eyes and long, downward curved beaks give them a somewhat fierce appearance.  In reality, these are shy birds that spend their lives foraging in brushy vegetation for small invertebrates.

Curve-billed Thrashers are members of a family of birds known as “mimids.”  These include other thrasher species, Catbirds, and Northern Mockingbirds.  All of the members of this family are known for their ability to sing.  Many mimids incorporate songs of other birds into their own songs.  Mimids’ songs are noted for their duration and complexity.  Some songs may contain more than a hundred distinct phrases, all repeated in a set order.

Curve-billed Thrashers are no slouches when it comes to singing.  They have among the most elaborate and protracted songs of any species.  Usually. it’s the males that do the singing and they are most likely to sing during their courtship season, which begins right about now in southern Arizona.  I find Curve-billed Thrashers to be a delight to listen to.

Image made with a Canon 5Div, 400mm f4 DO II lens+1.4x telextender, M setting (Auto Iso), ISO 400, f5.6 @ 1/2000.

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