Townsends Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi)

Townsends Solitaire

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Turdidae | [latin] Myadestes townsendi | [UK] Townsends Solitaire | [FR] Solitaire de Townsend | [DE] Townsendklarino | [ES] Solitario Norteno | [NL] Bergsolitaire


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Myadestes townsendi NA, MA w Canada to c Mexico
Myadestes townsendi calophonus
Myadestes townsendi townsendi

Physical charateristics

A slim gray bird with a white eye-ring, white sides on the tail, and buffy wing patches.
The pattern in the wing and tail give it a not-too-remote resemblance to a Mockingbird, but note the eye-ring, darker breast, and especially the buff wing patches.

Listen to the sound of Townsends Solitaire

[audio: Solitaire.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 25 cm wingspan max.: 39 cm
size min.: 20 cm size max.: 22 cm
incubation min.: 14 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 16 days fledging max.: 17 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 8  


North America, Middle America : West Canada to Central Mexico


Conifer forests in mountains, rocky cliffs; in winter, chaparral, pinyon-juniper, open woods, wooded streams. Breeds mostly in open conifer forest in mountains, where exposed rocky slopes or dirt banks provide ne
sting sites; in far north, may be in burned areas or open scrub habitat near such banks. In winter, inhabits semi-open woods and brush, especially around junipers.


Male defends territory by singing, often from a high perch; sometimes sings in flight.
Usually on ground in shallow depression in dirt bank or road cut, in crevice in cliff, under a log or stump, or among upturned roots, placed in a protected spot with some overhanging shelter. Sometimes in hollow in dead sna
g a few feet above ground. Nest is a bulky and loosely made open cup of twigs, grass, pine needles, bark strips, lined with finer grass.
Eggs: 4, sometimes 3-5, rarely 6. Whitish to pale blue, blotched with pale gray, overlaid with darker brown spots. Details of incubation not well known; incubation period about 11 days.
Young: Both parents bring food for nestlings. Young probably leave the nest about 2 weeks after hatching.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects and berries.
Feeds on many insects, especially in summer, including caterpillars, beetles, ants, true bugs, and others, also spiders and other invertebrates. In winter, majority of diet may be berries and small fruits, including those of juniper, mistletoe, hackberry
, and others.
Behavior: Does much foraging by watching from a perch, then flying out to catch insects in midair or fluttering down to catch them on the ground. Also may hover momentarily while plucking insects or berries among foliage.


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). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very 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.

Townsends Solitaire status Least Concern


Alaska, northwestern Canada, western United States, northern Mexico. Migration:
Migrates relatively late in fall and early in spring, although odd individuals may be seen out of season. Winter range varies from year to year depending on berry supply. Small numbers winter well east of breeding range on Great Plains.

Distribution map

Townsends Solitaire distribution range map

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