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Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus aurantiirostris

  • © Hernan Arias

The Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush has a disjunct distribution from Mexico through Central America to western Panama, and in northern and western Venezuela south in the Andes to southern Colombia. This species is locally common in lower montane areas in the dense understory along forest edge, secondary woodland, and disturbed areas, such as coffee plantations. It is a member of the genus Catharus, which include several North American species that occur in the Neotropics during migration and winter. Characterized by a bright orange bill, along with light rufous-brown upperparts and grayish-white underparts. No North American Catharus thrush has an orange bill. In Central America, perhaps most similar to the Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus frantzii), which barely shows an orange base to the lower mandible, and is typically found at higher elevations. Also in Central America it is found more in thickets in deciduous woodland and second growth, whereas all other resident species in the genus are found in wetter forested areas, mostly at higher elevations. Unlikely to be confused with other Catharus in South America. It does overlap with Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus fuscater) and Spotted Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus dryas), but both those species are very differently plumaged. Often seen hopping on the ground, or singing from a very low perch in a dense thicket. Most other members of the genus have a complex, lovely song, but Orange-billed has a less “musical,” drier song. The common call note is a nasal, upslurred “whaaaaa.

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Song (Brown-headed)

© Geoffrey A. Keller

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus aurantiirostris), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: