Mexico’s Collection of Thrushes

The Birdfreak Team has a fascination with thrushes, evident in the use of Veery as Jennie’s online name and the posts we’ve done previously on the blog.

Mexico has a fine selection of thrushes, birds that fall into the family Turdidae. Some of these are well-known here in the U.S., others are rare finds in the borderlands, yet many still are unique to Mexico and places southward.

There are approximately 26 thrushes found in Mexico, including all three bluebirds – Eastern, Western, and Mountain – Townsend’s Solitaire, American Robin, and one of our personal favorites, Veery!

The four “brown” thrushes of the U.S. winter in Mexico – Swainson’s, Hermit, Gray-cheeked, and Wood Thrush. Part of the Wood Thrush’s decline can be attributed to loss of habitat in Mexico, showing how important it is to conserve all their habitat.

Part of Mexico’s thrush attraction is their (at least) five Nightingale-Thrushes. These small thrushes have wonderful songs and a unique beauty. Their name alone is enough to pique interest in these retreating birds. The five include:

  • Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush – widespread and a conspicuous singer
  • Russet Nightingale-Thrush – endemic to Mexico
  • Ruddy-Capped Nightingale-Thrush – similar to Orange-billed & Russet but a bit more musical
  • Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush – this bird was spotted in southern Texas, in Pharr at the Williams property
  • Spotted Nightingale-Thrush – our personal favorite and found only in the extreme southern part of Mexico

Clay-colored Robin, Pharr, Texas 2005
Clay-colored Robin

When we think of robins we think of the abundant, orange-breasted thrushes (American Robins) of lawns across the U.S. But Mexico has more robins, some of which are hard to believe.

  • Black Robin – endemic to the cloud forests
  • Mountain Robin – found only in extreme southern Mexico and southward
  • Clay-colored Robin – a species that is expanding steadily into the southern U.S.
  • White-throated Robin – widespread and variable
  • Rufous-backed Robin – endemic to western Mexico
  • Rufous-collared Robin – limited to the highlands of southern Mexico and into Guatemala

Other cool Mexican thrushes
Not to be left out are some other really nice thrushes that round out Mexico’s wide variety. Brown-backed and Slate-colored Solitaires provide haunting songs year round and Grayson’s [Rufous-backed] Thrush is a poorly studied endemic of the state of Nayarit.

Last but not least is our most wanted thrush, Zorzal Azteca, the Aztec Thrush. Nothing quite says Mexico like the Aztecs and this thrush is unique and gorgeous, as well as endemic.

The Birdfreak Team has started a new Website to help with the promotion of Mexico’s birds and their conservation It is our hope to connect with birders and conservationists in Mexico as well as the U.S. We have yet to travel to Mexico, but their birds are intriguing and also under-protected.

Mexico is lacking in similar wonderful resources we have in the U.S. – online bird resources like those offered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, hundreds of localized birding guides, and the large community of birders found in the American Birding Association. There are many groups working with Mexico, but we feel there should be more.

This is an ongoing project and is in its early stages of development. Please join us and visit often as the site evolves.

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