Curve-Billed Thrasher

Toxostoma curvirostre
Range Map

The Curve-Billed Thrasher is resident throughout its range, which includes most of Mexico, parts of Southern Arizona and New Mexico, and Texas. In Tucson, these birds are regulars in the residential neighborhoods. Observers will hear the Whit-Wheet calls of these birds at a distance that announces their presence well before we see them. Western birds and eastern birds differ somewhat in appearance, with the Texas (eastern) group having a lighter breast with more contrasting spots.

All members of the Toxostoma genus have long, decurved bills suited for thrashing through leaf litter under thickets of tangled brush, and searching for seeds or insect prey. 

Today, science recognises seven subspecies of Curve-Billed Thrasher:

  • T. c. celsum lives in the southern USA from Colorado to Kansas and northwestern Oklahoma, southeastern Arizona, New Mexico, west Texas and north-central Mexico.
  • T. c. oberholseri lives in south Texas and northeastern Mexico.
  • T. c. curvirostre lives in central-southern Mexico.
  • T. c. palmeri lives in southwestern and central Arizona and northwestern Mexico.
  • T. c. maculatum lives in northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Sinaloa, and Chihuahua.
  • T. c. insularum lives on islands off northwestern Mexico in the Gulf of California.
  • T. c. occidentale lives in west-central Mexico from Sinaloa to Jalisco.

Most thrasher species I’ve met have been shy and retiring, avoiding human occupied habitats. Not so for Curve-Billed Thrashers, who, when I’ve met them, seem perfectly at home roaming through the neighborhoods in southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

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