Species Of Thrushes
Robins are among the world's better known thrushes. The American robin (Turdus migratorius) is probably the native bird with which North Americans are most commonly familiar. The American robin has a brick-red breast and slate-grey back and is very widespread, breeding from the northern limit of trees and tall shrubs, through to southern Mexico. The American robin utilizes a wide range of natural habitats, and it also breeds in parks and gardens. As is implied by the scientific name of the species, the American robin is migratory, spending the non-breeding season in the more southern regions of its breeding range, as far south as Guatemala. The varied thrush (Ixoreus naevius) is a robin-like bird of mature and old-growth conifer forests of western North America.
The European robin (Erithacus rubecula) is the original robin red-breast, after which other, superficially similar species of thrushes were named, such as the American robin. The European robin is common in much of Europe and western Russia, breeding in open forests, shrubby habitats, hedgerows, and parks and gardens.
Another common thrush of Europe and North Africa is the European blackbird (Turdus merula). This species occurs in a wide range of forest types, and also in parks and gardens.
Bluebirds are a familiar group of thrushes in North America. The eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) occurs in open, shrubby habitats of various types in eastern and central North America and south to Nicaragua. Male eastern bluebirds have a blue back and a red breast, while the color of the female is more subdued. The western bluebird (S. mexicana) and mountain bluebird (S. currucoides) are found in western North America.
Five species of thrushes occur in the forests of North America. These thrushes have a basic coloration of grey-brown to brown-red backs, with a white, spotted breast. All of these birds have pleasing, flute-like songs. These species include the wood thrush (Hylocichla mustelina), hermit thrush (H. guttata), olive-backed thrush (H. ustulata), gray-cheeked thrush (H. minima), and veery (H. fuscescens). Numbers of some of the more southern populations of these forest thrushes appear to be declining substantially, in part because of excessive nest parasitism by the brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater). The breeding range of the cowbird has expanded tremendously because of fragmentation of forests by human activities, especially the conversion of forests to agricultural and residential land-use. The cowbird poses a risk for many species of birds, in addition to forest thrushes.
The wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) is an arctic species of thrush, breeding as far north as the limits of land in both North America and Eurasia.