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Description of the Hermit Thrush

BREEDING MALE

The Hermit Thrush is a slightly stocky thrush, with upperparts varying geographically from grayish to reddish brown.  The breast is whitish and boldly spotted, and the tail is always reddish, more so than the upperparts.  Length: 7 in.  Wingspan: 11 in.

hermit thrush

 

Hermit Thrush 1 gl
Photograph © Greg Lavaty.

Female

Sexes similar.

Seasonal change in appearance

None.

Juvenile

Juveniles have spotted upperparts as well as spotted breasts.

Habitat

Hermit Thrushes breed in coniferous or mixed coniferous-deciduous forest, but are found in a wide variety of woodlands and parks during winter.

Diet

Hermit Thrushes primarily eat insects and berries.

Behavior

Hermit Thrushes forage both on the ground and in trees or shrubs.  They habitually flick their wings and tail.

Range

Hermit Thrushes breed across much of Canada and the western and northeastern U.S., and winter across the southern and southeastern U.S.  The population has increased in recent decades.

Fun Facts

The Hermit Thrush is more cold tolerant than other Catharus thrushes, and it is the only species to regularly winter in large parts of the U.S.

Hermit Thrushes can be very inconspicuous in winter, but a patient birder might locate one by finding berry trees in the woods.

Vocalizations

The song is a series of high, flutelike notes. A common call is a quiet "chup".

Nesting

The nest is a cup of moss, bark strips, and twigs, and is often placed on the ground in eastern or northern parts of the range, and in a coniferous tree in the west.

Number: Usually lay 4 eggs.
Color: Pale blue or greenish-blue with a few darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 12 days, and leave the nest in another 12 days, though continuing to associate with the adults for some time.