Sage Thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus)

Sage Thrasher

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Mimidae | [latin] Oreoscoptes montanus | [UK] Sage Thrasher | [FR] Moqueur des armoises | [DE] Berg-Spottdrossel | [ES] Cuitlacoche de Artemesia | [NL] Bergspotlijster


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Toxostoma montanus
Oreoscoptes montanus NA w, sw USA c Mexico

Physical charateristics

A bit smaller than a Robin; similar in shape and some actions. Gray-backed, with a heavily streaked breast, white spots at tip of tail. The eyes are pale yellow. Small size, shorter tail, shorter bill, and striped breast distinguish it from other typicall
y western thrashers.

Listen to the sound of Sage Thrasher

[audio: Thrasher.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 30 cm wingspan max.: 34 cm
size min.: 20 cm size max.: 23 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 10 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America : West, Southwest USA


Sagebrush, brushy slopes, mesas; in winter, also deserts.
Breeds almost entirely in sagebrush areas, either in wide-open flats or where sagelands meet open pinyon-juniper woods. Rarely breeds in other brushy habitats. More widespread in migration and winter, occurr
ing in grassland with scattered shrubs, desert, pinyon-juniper woods, and other semi-open areas.


Male sings to defend breeding territory. May also perform flight display, singing while flying in low zigzag over brush, then alighting and holding the wings raised and fluttering for a moment.
Nest: Site is in sagebrush or other low bush such as greasewood, saltbush, or rabbitbrush, sometimes low in juniper or on ground. Nest (thought to be built by both sexes)
is a bulky cup of twigs, lined with fine rootlets, grass, and animal hair.
Eggs: 3-5, sometimes more or fewer. Deep greenish blue with brown spots concentrated at larger end. Incubation is by both parents, about 13-
15 days. Brown-headed Cowbirds sometimes lay eggs in nest, but cowbird eggs are rejected and tossed out by the adult thrashers.
Young: Both parents bring food for the nestlings. Young leave nest about 10-14 days after hatching. Adults may raise 2 brood

Feeding habits

Mostly insects and berries.
Especially in summer, feeds on grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, true bugs, wasps, and other insects, plus some spiders. Berries and wild fruits are eaten especially in winter, but the birds may gather at any season to feed on gooseberries, wild curra
nts, mistletoe berries, juniper berries, and others, sometimes including cultivated fruits.
Behavior: Does much of its foraging on the ground, running about rapidly on open ground in scrubby territory. Perches in shrubs and low trees to feed on berries.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Sage Thrasher status Least Concern


Southwestern Canada, western United States.
b Migration: Somewhat irregular in its migrations and its wintering range, perhaps concentrating where there are good crops of wild berries. Strays sometimes wander to Atlantic Coast, mainly in fall.

Distribution map

Sage Thrasher distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *