The Captivating Curve-Billed Thrasher
The Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre) is generally 10 to 12 inches long, slender in build with a long tail, and a long, curved, sickle-shaped bill. It is pale grayish-brown above with lighter-colored underparts that are vaguely streaked. The tips of the tail are streaked with white, and the sides of the tail are a darker color than its back. The eye of an adult is usually a vivid orange or red-orange, although immature birds have a yellow eye.
The Curve-billed Thrasher is commonly found throughout the deserts and brush-filled areas of the south-western United States, from about the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and across New Mexico to west Texas, as well as most of Mexico, from the Sonoran-Chihuahuan Deserts and south through the Mexican Plateau to regions south of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt in south-central Mexico.
This interesting bird often roosts in a tall tree or spiny vegetation, preferring a cactus. The nest is a loosely woven cup made of thorny twigs. The female lays 2 to 4 eggs, which are bluish-green and speckled with brown. The eggs are incubated by both sexes, and hatch after about thirteen days. The young will leave the nest after 14 to 18 days after hatching.
Curve-billed Thrashers feed on ground-dwelling insects, as well as seeds, and berries. It often pushes out Cactus Wrens in its area. This thrasher’s voice call is a sharp, liquid, whistle wet-WEET, or wet-WEET-wet. Its songs, on the other hand, when it takes a perch, perhaps at the top of a honey mesquite or a cholla cactus, are captivating improvisations that famed naturalist Roger Tory Peterson described as “a musical series of notes and phrases.” National Geographic characterized the curve-billed thrasher’s song as “long and elaborate, consisting of low trills and warbles, seldom repeating phrases.”
Although they fly very well, they will often run in a very fast, very amusing manner that is sure to bring a smile to your face. Their legs seem to vanish in a wild blur as the bird charges to its destination.
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