Spotted Nightingale-Thrush Catharus dryas

  • © Nick Athanas

Spotted Nightingale-Thrush is one of the fanciest of the Catharus thrushes, and has a disjunct distribution from Mexico to Honduras, and in the foothills on both slopes of the Andes from southern Venezuela south to northern Argentina. Throughout its range it is a fairly common, but very secretive species. The plumage is unique for a Catharus, being olive above, almost yellow below with distinctive black spotting. The head is black with a red eyering, and the bill is bright orange-red. It overlaps in at least part of its range with Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus fuscater). That species also has a bright red bill, but also has an entirely slaty-gray plumage. Spotted Nightingale-Thrush favors dense thickets in humid foothill rain-forest, usually at a slightly lower elevation than the more common Slaty-backed. Typically very difficult to see as they sing, and stay hidden in thickets. It forages on or near the ground. Like many of the Catharus species, it has a lovely musical song, composed of various phrases of trills and soft whistles. Song “thinner” and less robust than Slaty-backed’s song. Call is a soft, nasal, high-pitched “reeeee.” More-often heard than seen.

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© Dale Delaney

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

Recommended Citation

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