Clay-Colored Thrush

Turdus grayi
Range Map

Formerly called the Clay-Colored Robin, this bird’s historic range has been in eastern Mexico and south through Central America and northern South America. In recent years, it has expanded its range into southern Texas. The Clay-Colored Thrush is resident throughout its range (it does not migrate). Folks in Costa Rica have made this bird their national symbol, even though there are many more colorful birds in that country. For them, it is a confiding and much loved yard bird.

Science recognises six subspecies of Clay-Colored Thrush:

  • T.g. tamaulipensis lives in eastern Mexico, from Tamaulipas south to the Yucatan Peninsula.
  • T.g. microrhynchus lives in the Mexican interior at an elevation of about 5,500 feet.
  • T.g. grayi lives in southern Mexico and northern Central America.
  • T.g. megas lives in Central America from Guatemala to Nicaragua.
  • T.g. casius lives in Costa Rica and south to the Andes.
  • T.g. incomptus lives in coastal northern Colombia.

The birds I met in south Texas were members of the T.g. tamaulipensis clan. I met my first Clay-Colored Thrush during the initial period of the Covid-19 pandemic, while I was staying in Brownsville (Texas) at an RV camp. This bird was a regular visitor there. When I returned to Texas in the spring of 2021, I met more of these birds at Resaca de la Palma, and at the National Butterfly Center in Mission Texas.

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