Long-billed thrasher

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Long-billed thrasher
Toxostoma longirostre -Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Texas, USA-8.jpg
In Texas, USA
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Mimidae
Genus: Toxostoma
Species: T. longirostre
Binomial name
Toxostoma longirostre
(Lafresnaye, 1838)

The long-billed thrasher (Toxostoma longirostre) is a medium-sized resident songbird of South Texas and eastern Mexico.


There are two subspecies of the Long-billed. T. longirostre longirostre was discovered by Frédéric de Lafresnaye in 1838, while T. longirostre sennitti was discovered by Robert Ridgway a half-century later.[2]

T.c. sennitti (Ridgway, 1888) Sennett's thrasher. Range extends from southern (particularly south central) Texas to the Rio Grande Valley and the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and southern and eastern San Luis Potosi.[2][3]

T.c. longirostre (Lafresnaye, 1838). Range is in eastern Mexico, within the states of Querétaro, southern Tamaulipas and Veracruz southward to Puebla.[2][3]

Along with the Brown thrasher and Cozumel thrasher, the three are part of a Superspecies rufum clade.[2] Plumage patterns and bill shapes were originally used for grouping,[4] and the birds also were shown as closely related with genetic studies.[5]


In Texas, USA

The long-billed thrasher is slender and long-tailed, averaging 26.5–29 cm (10.5–11.5 in) in length[6] and about 70 g (2.5 oz) in weight.[7] It is also a large sized thrasher that is close in size to the American Robin.

T.c. sennetti is described with a grayish-brown crown with a rufous color appearing in the back, rump, rear, and shoulder. Broad white tips located on the greater and lesser primary coverts and dullish-brown with rufous brown edges on the primary and secondary coverts gives the closed wings an appearance wing with rufous colorings. The chin, throat, chest, and belly can appear to be white or a pale-buffy white, although the chest and belly contain keenly blackish oval shapes. The underwing is buffy-white and a buffy colored cloaca. The iris is typically either orange or orange-yellow, with a dull brown bill with its base of the lower mandible appear to be pinkish grey.[3] T.c. curvirostre is similar with an exception to being smaller, darker, and rufescent, and buffy-white underparts.[3]

Juveniles have dusty streak marks on its rump, with buffy-white undertail coverts.[3]

Similar species[edit]

The Long-billed shares a striking resemblance with the Brown thrasher. However, there are a number of differences. Its face is more gray in contrast to the reddish appearance of the thrasher. The underparts are whiter, less buffy, and more robustly colored, an eye that appears more orange and beady, and generally a longer-bill that is blacker and stands apart from the face. The long-billed's overall appearance has more contrasts in its pattern in comparison to the thrasher.[3][8]

Sage thrashers, which shares some its distribution with the Long-billed, is smaller, grayer, and its rectrices are of a more distinguished white color.[3]

Painting of adult of the subspecies senetti from the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey.


This species is resident from South Texas through Tamaulipas and eastern Coahuila along the Atlantic slope of Mexico to central Veracruz. It occurs in brushy or thicketed habitats of all kinds.[6]


It usually stays hidden on or near the ground, though it may sing from conspicuous perches.[6] Its food is mostly insects and fruit;[6] it searches for insects on the ground by energetically turning over ("thrashing") leaves and other litter.[7]


The song is warbling and resembles other thrashers' songs but is especially rich and musical, though occasionally scratchy. Phrases are often repeated two to four times.[6][7] A distinctive call is a "loud, rich whistle cleeooeep"[6] or "mellow, whistled tweeooip or ooeh";[7] other calls include "a loud sharp chak" and "a very rapid, sharp rattle chtttr" resembling calls of its close relative the brown thrasher.[7]


The nest is a bulky cup placed in thick low or mid-height vegetation and made of materials such as twigs and grasses. The female lays 2 to 5 eggs described as bluish-white with dense reddish-brown and gray speckles[6] or greenish-white with tiny, dense, "dingy brown" speckles.[9]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Toxostoma longirostre". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Long-billed Thrasher(Toxostoma longirostre)". Internet Bird Collection. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Brewer, David (2001). Wrens, Dippers, and Thrashers. Yale University Press. p. 231. ISBN 978-0-300-09059-8. 
  4. ^ "Evolutionary patterns of morphometrics, allozymes and mitochondrial DNA in thrashers (Genus Toxostoma)" (PDF). Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Lovette, I. J.; Arbogast, B. S.; Curry, R. L.; Zink, R. M.; Botero, C. A.; Sullivan, J. P.; Talaba, A. L.; Harris, R. B.; Rubenstein, D. R.; Ricklefs, R. E.; Bermingham, E. (2012). "Phylogenetic relationships of the mockingbirds and thrashers (Aves: Mimidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 63 (2): 219–229. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.07.009. PMID 21867766.  edit
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Howell, Steve N. G.; Webb, Sophie (1995). A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford University Press. p. 600. ISBN 0-19-854012-4. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Sibley, David Allen (2000). The Sibley Guide to Birds. Alfred Knopf. p. 412. ISBN 0-679-45122-6. 
  8. ^ Dunne, Pete (2006). Pete Dunne's Essential Field Guide Companion: A Comprehensive Resource for Identifying North American Birds. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 510–11. ISBN 978-0-300-09059-8. 
  9. ^ "Long-billed Thrasher". All About Birds. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved 2007-04-05.  Includes sound recordings.

External links[edit]