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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Sage Thrasher -- Oreoscoptes montanus

RANGE: Breeds largely between the Sierra Nevada-Cascade Mountain axis and the Rocky Mountains from southern British Columbia, Montana, and Wyoming south to east-central California, southern Nevada, northern Arizona, New Mexico, and northwestern Texas. Winters from northern Arizona and central Texas south to northern Mexico.

STATUS: Common throughout most its range.

HABITAT: Mainly limited to semiarid sagebrush plains, but may extend into junipers and mountain-mahogany habitats near sagebrush.


NEST: Sometimes nests on the ground under sagebrush, but usually in branches near the main stem of sagebrush plants, 1 to 3 feet above ground. May also nest in other low-growing shrubs such as greasewood, horsebrush, rabbitbrush, and saltbush.

FOOD: Gleans food from the ground, including great numbers of grasshoppers, Mormon crickets, and other insects. Also eats fruits and berries in the fall.

REFERENCES: Reynolds 1981, Reynolds and Rich 1978, Rich 1978, Terres 1980, Webster in Farrand 1983c.

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