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Curve-billed Thrasher

Toxostoma curvirostre

Photo © by Mike Plagens

By February males like this one begin gathering spiny twigs with which to build a nest. With a well constructed nest in prime habitat the male may succeed in attracting a female. Photographed in Gilbert, Arizona in February 2009.

Curve-billed Thrashers often build their nests within the natural fortress provided by Chain-fruit Cholla (Cylindropuntia fulgida). This nest was observed near Cave Creek, Maricopa Co., Arizona in April 2003.

This is one of the most accomplished singers amongst Sonoran Desert songbirds. The heavy curved beak is used to catch insects and small lizards. Thrashers come to feeders for seeds and consume a lot of fruit such as wolfberries and saguaros. They also use their strong, curved bills to turn over soil and leaves in order to probe for small animals such as lizards, spiders and grubs to eat. The yellow eyes are distinctive.

Year-round Resident - No Migration

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Despite the phalanx of needle-sharp thorns these eggs might still draw the attention of a nest-robbing predator such as a kingsnake. This nest was observed near Cave Creek, Maricopa Co., Arizona in April 2003.

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Photo © by Mike Plagens

I found this yellow-eyed thrasher at the summit of North Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona on March 5, 2006. We were near the end of a 142-day stretch without rain and so this thirsty bird was quite happy to lap up a little water spilled by a hiker.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2012