Varied Thrust

Bird of the Month: Varied Thrush

By Hugh Jennings

PC: Mick Thompson (Varied Thrush)

PC: Mick Thompson (Varied Thrush)

Scientific Name: Ixoreus naevius

Length: 8'“ - 10”

The Varied Thrush, 8”-10” long, is often called the Alaska robin.  Similar to the American robin, the male’s upperparts are slate gray, with rusty orange throat and breast.  Breast is interrupted by a broad black band, and the belly is off-white.  Female is similar but paler.  Their flight is more undulating than a robin.  Found in mountains all year, and locally in winter.  Varied thrushes come from nearby mountains and probably Canada and Alaska.  Breeds in damp conifer and mixed forests.

Song is not melodious, but nevertheless remarkable.  It has a single eerie whistled note, a long, drown-out sound, then a pause.  Whistles are repeated, but each one on a higher or lower pitch, with a pause after each note.  The varied thrush sings concealed high in a tree, its song echoing in the dark silent forest.