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Wood Thrush

Cover photo credit: Mike V.A. Burrell

Hylocichla mustelina

Did you know?

A female Wood Thrush requires 10-15x more calcium than similar sized mammal, making snail shells a necessary calcium-rich food supplement! These snails are depleted in areas subjected to acid rain causing nutrient deficiencies in the local population of Wood Thrush.

Think a Wood Thrush song sounds haunting? There’s a reason for that! Wood Thrush are able to sing notes in pairs, one in each branch of its voice box simultaneously, making them basically be able to sing a duet with itself!

Extra-pair copulation is common in Wood Thrush with sometimes 40% of the chicks not fathered by the mate.

Species at Risk Status

Federal Government status: Threatened

Provincial Government status: Special Concern


  • Medium sized 20cm long songbird. Their upper parts are rusty-brown, and their underparts are white with black speckles on the breast and sides
  • Males and females have a similar appearance. With the exception that juveniles have tawny streaks and spots on their upper parts
  • Bold white eye-ring
  • Heard deep in the forest singing a haunting “ee-ooh-lay” song


  • Lives in mature deciduous and mixed forests
  • Forests must have moderate undergrowth for shade and abundant leaf litter for insect foraging
  • They also look for tall trees to uses as singing perches


  • Urban and rural development causing their forest habitat to become fragmented.
  • Over grazing deer eating the underbrush where these bird’s nest.
  • Parasitic nesting of brown-headed cowbirds.
  • Acid Rain

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