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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Townsend's Solitaire -- Myadestes townsendi

RANGE: Breeds from east-central and southeastern Alaska, to west-central Mackenzie south in the mountains to southern California, northern and east-central Arizona, central New Mexico, and northern Mexico, and east to southwestern Alberta, western and southern Montana, southwestern South Dakota and northwestern Nebraska. Winters from southern British Columbia, southern Alberta, Montana, and South Dakota south to Baja California, the southern limit of the breeding range in Mexico, and east to western Missouri, western Oklahoma, and central Texas.

STATUS: Common within parts of its range.

HABITAT: During summer, it is found in montane and subalpine coniferous forests and in thickets and brushy areas adjacent to rocky cliffs up to 12,000 feet in elevation. Winters in open woodland, pinyon-juniper associations, chaparral, desert, and riparian woodlands.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Juniper berries for winter food.

NEST: Builds nest on the ground, partly concealed at the base of a pine or fir, under overhanging banks, or among the roots of a fallen tree.

FOOD: Gleans food from the ground, foliage, and fruiting stems, and hawks for flying insects. Eats insects and spiders during the summer, and mostly juniper berries, along with a few other fruits and seeds, during winter.

REFERENCES: Beal 1915b, Poddar and Lederer 1982, Terres 1980, Verner and Boss 1980.

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