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Number of species: 80

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Gray-cheeked Thrush - Catharus minimus

Gray-cheeked Thrush can generally be aged by a combination of molt limits and feather condition. HY/SY individuals are often easily recognized by retained juvenile greater coverts with pale shafts or tips, but since these can fade over time, some intermediates may be difficult to assess by spring. Sex is reliably determined only via brood patch / cloacal protuberance during the breeding season.

Gray-cheeked Thrush is quite similar to Bicknell's Thrush and should be identified with care in areas where both may occur. Gray-cheeked Thrush generally shows less yellow on the lower mandible and minimal contrast between the back and tail; consider also wing and tail measurements

Quick Tips:

  • Look at the greater coverts - on HY/SY birds, the innermost two are generally longer, while the remainder are retained juvenile feathers and often show buffy-white shaft streaks. However, the absence of such streaks is not a reliable indicator of AHY/ASY, as some HY/SY birds may lack these markings
  • Consider the shape of the rectrices - they are narrow and relatively pointed on HY/SY birds, but broad and relatively rounded on AHY/ASY birds
  • Examine the outermost primary (p10) - on HY/SY birds it is broad, rounded and 3-7 mm shorter than the primary coverts, while on AHY/ASY birds it is narrow, pointed, and 5-12 mm shorter than the primary coverts

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory

Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.
Age / Sex  Image sets 
Hatch year / Unknown
Inner 1-5 (often 2) greater coverts usually longer than others, while remainder may have pale shaft streaks; p10 relatively broad, rounded, long; rectrices narrow and pointed
Thumbnail - MG2-2241-91887-Catharus_minimus_AOU_7_52-2952.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2241-91887-Catharus_minimus_AOU_7_52-2954.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2241-91887-Catharus_minimus_AOU_7_52-2953.jpg
Date: Sep 24
After hatch year / Unknown
Wing uniform in appearance; outermost primary (p10) narrow, pointed, short; rectrices broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-1541-17227-Catharus_minimus_AOU_7_52-2946.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1541-17227-Catharus_minimus_AOU_7_52-2948.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1541-17227-Catharus_minimus_AOU_7_52-2947.jpg
Date: Sep 16
Second year / Unknown
Inner 1-5 (often 2) greater coverts usually longer than others, while remainder may have pale shaft streaks; p10 relatively broad, rounded, long; rectrices narrow and pointed
Thumbnail - MG2-9901-10004-Catharus_minimus_AOU_7_52-2955.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-9901-10004-Catharus_minimus_AOU_7_52-2957.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-9901-10004-Catharus_minimus_AOU_7_52-2956.jpg
Date: May 19
After second year / Unknown
Wing uniform in appearance; outermost primary (p10) narrow, pointed, short; rectrices broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2341-49895-Catharus_minimus_AOU_7_52-2949.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2341-49895-Catharus_minimus_AOU_7_52-2951.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2341-49895-Catharus_minimus_AOU_7_52-2950.jpg
Date: May 24

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
Juvenile / Unknown Distinct pale spotting on the head, back, and wings
Number of species: 80

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