Did She Steal the Piñons ?

Photo by Jack Ellis

The Curve-Billed Thrasher                                                         Photo –  Courtesy of Jack Ellis

A familiar bird to us here at Coronado, the Curved-bill Thrasher is often seen hanging out and nesting in the Cholla cactus on the path near the gardens.  The Curve-billed Thrasher prefers a semi-arid brushlands habitat, especially one with cactus.  He or she is a large  (11”), gray-brown bird with faint spots on breast, a long, dark, downward curved bill,  dark yellow to pale orange eyes,  and a long tail with white tips.  In this species of bird, male and female appear the same; juveniles are  similar to adults, with a shorter bill.

 The Curve-billed Thrasher’s diet includes insects, seeds, fruit, and berries.  He or she  forages on the ground, using the curved bill to thrash or toss leaves and debris aside to expose insects and invertebrates. The Curved-bill Thrasher also uses his or her bill to dig in soil for food.   This bird will visit ground seed feeders and water features.

The Curved-bill has a melodic, complex song.  Some family members, such as the Mockingbird, will imitate other species. Both male and female construct the cup shaped nest in spiny shrubs and cactus.  Mated pairs often remain together year round.

—Deborah Ellis

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