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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Hermit Thrush -- Catharus guttatus

RANGE: Breeds from western and central Alaska, northern Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland south to southern Alaska, in the mountains to southern California, southern Nevada, southern New Mexico, and western Texas, and east of the Rockies to central Alberta, central Wisconsin, southern Ontario, central Pennsylvania, western Virginia, western Maryland, southern New York, and in the Black Hills in southwestern South Dakota. Winters from southern British Columbia and the northern United States south to Baja California, Mexico, southern Texas, and southern Florida.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: In summer, inhabits coniferous, mixed, and deciduous forests with intermediate to high canopy coverage; responds negatively to intensive tree harvests. During migration and in winter, also inhabits chaparral, riparian woodlands, arid pine-oak associations, and desert scrub.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Relatively undisturbed, rather dense forests.

NEST: Usually builds nest in a depression on the ground, under rock ledges, or under low overhanging limbs. Sometimes locates nests in shrubs or small trees near the ground, especially in the West.

FOOD: Gleans most of its food from the ground. Eats insects, spiders, snails, and earthworms, plus considerable amounts of wild fruits in fall and winter.

REFERENCES: Beal 1915b, DeGraff et al. 1980, Forbush and May 1955, Szaro and Balda 1982, Terres 1980, Verner and Boss 1980.

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