Varied Thrush at Guelph - A Winter Treat

Female Varied Thrush at Guelph on 4 February 2014. Skulking in the bushes, it was hard to see. Just before coming out to feed, it gave several low choop choop calls. Found by Andrew Bailey on 3 February.


I wondered about the name Varied Thrush so checked John Terres' Encyclopedia of North American Birds. The scientific name is Ixoreus naevius and is derived from Greek and Latin. Ixoreus is from the Greek word ixos which means mistletoe and oreos meaning mountain. Varied Thrushes eat mistletoe and other berries in fall and winter, and much of their breeding range is in humid shady forests of the mountainous Pacific Northwest. The second part of the scientific name naevius is Latin and means spotted or varied. The plumage looks like it's made up of a lot of puffy spots.


This Varied Thrush is in an area with plenty of crab apples and buckthorn. A pine plantation is close at a couple of hundred metres away, where it probably roosts. After eating crab apples, it flew there at 4:00 p.m. the day I saw it on 4 February 2014.


Its undertail feathers are large and beautifully patterned and shaped.