BICKNELL’S THRUSH

BICKNELL’S THRUSH(Catharus bicknelli) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Bicknell’s Thrush adults upper parts are brown with some rufous on the tail. Throat is white and brown-streaked. Breast and flanks are white with brown spots. Belly is white. Bill is yellowish with a dark tip. Eyes are black. Legs are pinkish grey. Sexes are similar. Bird length is about 15 cm (6 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Catharus-bicknelli
NAME: ‘Thrush’ would mean ‘to twitter’. The ‘Bicknell’s’ name (also for the Latin species name) was given to this bird in honour of American ornithologist Eugene P. Bicknell. Latin genus name ‘Cattarus’ means ‘pure, clean’, in reference to the bird’s song.
HABITAT: Mountain conifer forests with stunted trees or disturbed areas.
DIET: Insects, berries.
NESTING: Nest is built in a conifer not far from the ground. Usually three blue-green eggs are laid, incubated by female. Chicks fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeding range is made of localized, scattered areas in Quebec along the St. Lawrence River, Nova Scotia and northeast USA. Winters in the Caribbean.
Distribution Map: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/bicknells-thrush
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings listed as ‘accidental’ so far. See note below on bird vagrancy.
CONSERVATION: Population small and restricted to a limited range. Considered as ‘threatened’ by COSEWIC, and as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN.
NOTES: Very rare and secretive bird, not much is known yet on this species.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Grey-cheeked Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush
REFERENCES: https://www.borealbirds.org/bird/bicknells-thrush
http://www.hww.ca/en/wildlife/birds/bicknells-thrush.html (Hinterland Who’s Who)
https://www.mba-aom.ca/jsp/toc.jsp (Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas)
American Bird Conservancy (Bicknell’s Thrush)
https://guides.nynhp.org/bicknells-thrush/ (New York Natural Heritage Program)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicknell%27s_thrush
https://mountainbirds.vtecostudies.org/birds/bicknells-thrush/ (Vermont Center for Ecostudies)
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Bicknells_Thrush/id

Bicknell's Thrush - Cannon Mountain, NH - June 2014 - photo by Phillip Kenny
Bicknell’s Thrush – Cannon Mountain, NH – June 2014 – photo by Phillip Kenny
Bicknell's Thrush, back view - Mount Ellen, VT - June 2011 - photo by Dick Mansfield
Bicknell’s Thrush, back view – Mount Ellen, VT – June 2011 – photo by Dick Mansfield

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