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Catharus occidentalis

Russet Nightingale-Thrush

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Turdidae
  • Polytypic 4 Subspecies

Authors: Soberanes-González, C., C. Rodríguez-Flores, M. C. Arizmendi, and Thomas S. Schulenberg

Catharus occidentalis

Jalisco, Mexico; 13 February 2009 © Dominic Sherony

Formerly considered to be conspecific with Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus frantzii), there in fact is no evidence of interbreeding between these two similar species where they overlap in western Mexico. Russet Nightingale-Thrush, which as its name suggests is principally uniform warm rufous above, is a Mexican endemic; four subspecies are recognized, and some authorities have suggested that the northwestern race Catharus occidentalis olivascens merits species status, but its song is identical to that of other populations. This species is not as difficult to observe as some Catharus thrushes; it inhabits semi-arid pine–oak and oak forests, usually with a fairly open understory, and is found at 1500–3500 m. Like congenerics, Russet Nightingale-Thrush forages on the ground, and sometimes visits open areas, especially at dusk and dawn.

Recommended Citation

Soberanes-González, C., C. Rodríguez-Flores, M. C. Arizmendi, and Thomas S. Schulenberg. 2012. Russet Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus occidentalis), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Pine-Oak forest
  • Foraging Strata:Terrestrial/Understory
  • Foraging Behavior:---
  • Diet:Omnivorous
  • Sociality:Solitary
  • Mating System:
  • Nest Form:Cup
  • Clutch: 2 - 3
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern