Catharus guttatus


Hermit Thrushes have two unique behaviors: tail and wing flicking. Tail flicking is the rapid raising and slow lowering of the tail upon landing and often followed by a "tchup" sound. The wing flicking or "twinkling" is a rapidly repeated extending and returning of the wings.

This is the only thrush to winter in North America. All others migrate south for the winter. The song of this bird is hardly heard during winter and never during migration. The males begin singing as early as an hour before sunrise and as late as 30-40 minutes after sunset.

This bird uses a variety of food foraging techniques. It scourages the ground and sometimes catches flying insects. Fruits and berries make up half of the bird's winter diet.


Brown head and upperparts. Thin white eye ring. Dark spots on white breast. Grayish flanks. Rust/Cinnamon colored rump and tail. Thin pale bill with dark tip. Pinkish legs. Sexes similar. 6 to 7 inches in length.


Coniferous and mixed forests, and thickets.


4 blue-green eggs with a 12-13 day incubation period. Fledging occurs 12 days after hatching. The nest is an open cup lined made from moss, leaves, and rootlets. It is usually built on or near the ground in a concealed area.

Observed Locations:

  • "The Drip", Cabrillo National Monument, Point Loma
  • Fort Rosecrans Cemetary, Point Loma
  • Torrey Pines State Park, La Jolla

Click on an image to see the larger version.

The CNM "Drip"

The CNM "Drip"




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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.