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Wood Thrush, Christian Artuso
Photo © Christian Artuso

Photo: Christian Artuso
Breeding evidence - Wood Thrush
Breeding evidence

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Wood Thrush
Hylocichla mustelina
Landscape associations:

Click on plot to view table of mean abundance
Conserv. status:
COSEWIC: Threatened
SRANK: Not Applicable (SNA)
Number of squares
ConfirmedProbablePossiblePoint counts
0 2 6 5
Long-term BBS trends
RegionYearsTrend (conf. interv.) Reliab.
Canada1970 - 2015 -2.8 (-3.42 - -2.1)High

Mean abundance (number of birds detected per 5 min. point count) and percentage of squares occupied by region

Bird Conservation Regions [abund. plot] [%squares plot]
Arctic Plains and MountainsBoreal Hardwood TransitionBoreal Softwood Shield
0.00% 0.173% 0.060%
Boreal Taiga PlainsPrairie PotholesTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains
0.070% 0.00% 0.00%

Characteristics and Range Arguably one of North America's finest songsters, the Wood Thrush is a rare visitor to Manitoba. Almost the size of an American Robin, but shorter tailed, it has reddish-brown upperparts and much bolder breast speckling than the Catharus thrushes. The breeding range lies entirely east of the Great Plains, from South Dakota and Minnesota through southern Canada to the Maritime Provinces, and south to the Gulf of Mexico. Wintering takes place from Mexico to Panama (Evans et. al. 2011).

Distribution, Abundance, and Habitat Since the mid-1970s, the Wood Thrush has been a near-annual visitor to the province. In 1976, a pair bred in Riding Mountain National Park (Walley 1977). During the atlas period, there were records involving eight birds, all but one from the region east and southeast of Winnipeg (the one exception was in the central Interlake). Birds near Milner Ridge and Richer were observed over a period of time, hence coded as probable breeding. The Wood Thrush favours mature deciduous or mixed woodlands for nesting and atlas records were mostly in mixed woods. Several Wood Thrush records were in woodland on the edge of towns or developed areas in the boreal forest or boreal-parkland transition, such as Garson, Paradise Village, and Milner Ridge.

Trends, Conservation, and Recommendations BBS results show similar long-term declines both in Canada and the U.S.A (Sauer et al. 2015). The main threats appear to be destruction and fragmentation of forests in breeding and wintering areas (Evans et al. 2011). Despite the overall declines, BBS data show increases in the northwestern extremity of the range, adjacent to Manitoba, which may partially explain the increasing number of observations here. Preservation of unbroken deciduous woodlands would benefit the species.

Rudolf F. Koes

Recommended citation: Koes, R. F. 2018. Wood Thrush in Artuso, C., A. R. Couturier, K. D. De Smet, R. F. Koes, D. Lepage, J. McCracken, R. D. Mooi, and P. Taylor (eds.). The Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Manitoba, 2010-2014. Bird Studies Canada. Winnipeg, Manitoba [27 Nov 2021]

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Banner photo: Christian Artuso