Long-Billed Thrasher

Toxostoma longirostre
Range Map

Looking very much like its redder cousin, the Brown Thrasher, the browner Long-Billed Thrasher’s range is restricted to southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. Though it gets its name for its long bill, among thrashers, its bill length is not exceptional. The LeConte’s, California, and Crissal Thrashers all have a longer bill length.

In earlier times, we called this bird the Sennett’s Thrasher. Like all its thrasher cousins, it uses its beak by side-to-side sweeps through soft soils and litter to find its food. Invertebrates comprise most of its diet, but they will take fruits and small berries in season.

Modern science recognises two subspecies:

  • T. l. longirostre lives in northeastern Mexico.
  • T. l. sennetti lives further north and is the bird we see in south Texas.

When first I met these birds in south Texas, I believed them to be Brown Thrashers, a species I’d read so much about because of their reputation for issuing more songs than any other bird species. Birders more familiar with the avifauna of the region were quick to point out my mistake and properly identify this species for me. I’m still looking forward to meeting the Brown Thrasher, but such a meeting is more likely to occur further east than my Texas explorations carried me.

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