Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Long-billed Thrasher

Long-billed Thrashers were common at Santa Ana National Wildife Refuge near Mission Texas. The species ranges from southern Texas through eastern Mexico. In Texas, it is most abundant in the Rio Grand Valley, where the bird has suffered from habitat destruction. Long-billed Thrashers (above) are similar to Brown Thrashers (below). This similarity has led ornithologists to assume that the two species also share similar behaviors, and thus the Long-billed Thrasher remains poorly studied (Tweit 1997).

Differences between the two species include the amount of white at the base of the lower mandible--all dark in the Long-billed Thrasher, half whitish or yellowish in the Brown. Long-billed Thrashers tend to have darker backs than do Brown Thrashers. Notice the unstreaked undertail feathers on the Long-billed Thrasher. Finally, Long-billed Thrashers have blacker streaking on their underparts than do Brown Thrashers. The Brown Thrasher in the lower photo was taken near Dundas, Minnesota.

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