Sage Thrasher

Range Map
Oreoscoptes montanus

Once called the Mountain Mockingbird, we find Sage Thrashers in sage-shrub dominated habitats of the western United States. In Spring and Summer, the Great Basin is a good place to find these birds, but they also travel as far north as the Canadian border in eastern Washington and central Montana. Winters find them in the desert southwest of the USA and northern Mexico.

Thrashers earned their name by their foraging technique; they use their beaks to dig through soft soils under leaf litter to find their invertebrate prey.

Oil and mineral explorations, as well as overgrazing, threaten the sensitive habitat these birds require for survival. Likewise, conversion to agriculture threatens their habitat.

Science views Sage Thrashers as monotypic (no subspecies recognised).

Though I’ve enjoyed meeting these birds in many locations throughout the western USA, such as Oregon, Nevada, Utah, and the Texas-New Mexico border, my favorite encounters have been in the high country east of the Sierra-Nevada Mountains. There always seems to be a wealth of Sage Thrashers there at the western boundary of the Great Basin. It is a perfect habitat for these birds.

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