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Ocellated Thrasher

Toxostoma ocellatum

The Ocellated Thrasher (Toxostoma ocellatum) is a medium-sized bird, measuring between 26.5 to 29.5 cm in length and weighing from 77.3 to 95.8 grams. It is characterized by its dark brown upperparts with a slight olive hue, a dull white to buff supercilium, and brown cheeks. The wings, when folded, reveal two white bars, and the outer tail feathers are tipped with narrow white bands. Its underparts are a pale whitish color, transitioning to buff on the belly and brown on the flanks, adorned with bold black spots.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the Ocellated Thrasher, look for the distinctive white bars on the wings and the white tips on the outer tail feathers. The bird's spotted breast and flanks, along with its supercilium, are also key features to note.

Habitat

This species is found in a variety of environments, including arid and semi-arid scrublands, as well as the brushy understory of oak and pine-oak forests. It thrives at elevations ranging from 1,400 to 3,000 meters.

Distribution

The Ocellated Thrasher is endemic to Mexico, with the nominate subspecies, T. o. ocellatum, residing in central Mexico from San Luis Potosí to Hidalgo and México states. The T. o. villai subspecies is located in southern Mexico, between Puebla and Oaxaca.

Behaviour

The Ocellated Thrasher is known to forage primarily within dense vegetation, either on the ground or close to it. Its secretive nature often keeps it hidden from plain sight.

Song & Calls

The song of the Ocellated Thrasher is a rich and varied warbling, with phrases typically repeated two or three times. This melodious tune is often delivered from the top of a bush or tree. Its calls consist of a hard, slightly smacking to gruff "chehk" or "tchehk."

Breeding

Details on the breeding habits of the Ocellated Thrasher are scarce. However, it is known to construct a cup-shaped nest made of twigs and grass, placed within a bush or tree. The clutch is believed to consist of two eggs.

Diet and Feeding

While the exact diet of the Ocellated Thrasher has not been thoroughly documented, it is presumed to feed mostly on arthropods, other invertebrates, and possibly fruit.

Conservation Status

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the Ocellated Thrasher as Least Concern. Despite this, the bird has a relatively small range, and both its population size and trends remain unknown.

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