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Species Guide

Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush

Catharus fuscater

The Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, known scientifically as Catharus fuscater, is a modestly sized bird, measuring in at 17 cm (6.7 inches). It boasts a dark grey back and head, with a medium grey throat and chest, transitioning to a light grey belly. This bird's plumage is elegantly offset by its bright orange legs, bill, and eye ring, which provide a striking contrast to its otherwise muted tones. The light-coloured iris is a distinctive feature, setting it apart from its nightingale-thrush cousins.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, look for its unique combination of grey tones and bright orange accents on the legs, bill, and eye ring. The light-coloured iris is a key distinguishing characteristic. Its size is also a helpful identifier, as it is smaller than many similar species.


This elusive bird prefers the dense thickets and understory of subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It thrives in these shadowy realms, often hidden from the casual observer.


The Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush can be found across a range of countries in South and Central America, including Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.


Known for its shy demeanor, the Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush is a challenge to spot as it skulks through the underbrush of its forested home.

Similar Species

The Sooty Thrush may be mistaken for the Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, but it is significantly larger and lacks the whitish belly. Additionally, their ranges do not overlap, which can aid in identification.

Conservation status

The Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating that, for now, this species is not at immediate risk of decline.

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Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrushes on Birda

A map showing the sighting location
James Leone
14 Jan 2024 - 11:35am

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Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush

Catharus frantzii
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