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A photo of a Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus frantzii)
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush

Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush

Catharus frantzii

The Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, a small and charming thrush, is adorned with olive-brown upperparts and a distinctive rufous crown and nape. Its underparts are a pale grey, transitioning to a whitish belly, and it boasts an orange lower mandible. This bird measures a modest 15–18 cm in length and tips the scales at 28 grams.

Identification Tips

Adults can be recognized by their olive-brown upperparts and rufous crown and nape, while juveniles display a darker face, pale centers to their upperpart feathers, and brownish flanks and breast. The belly of the young may exhibit dark barring or spots. Subspecies vary slightly in the exact tone of their plumage.


The Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush is a denizen of the undergrowth in wet mountain oak and conifer forests, as well as second growth. It thrives at altitudes ranging from approximately 1350 m to 3500 m.


This species is a steadfast resident from the highlands of central Mexico stretching to western Panama.


On the forest floor, this thrush forages alone or in pairs, moving in a series of hops and dashes with frequent pauses. It is known to turn leaf litter in search of insects and spiders, and it also partakes in small fruits.

Song & Calls

The Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush serenades the forest with a rich and varied whistle, a melodious shee-vee-li-ee-ree. Its calls are a high, thin seet or a whooeet, piercing the forest air.


The nest, a bulky lined cup, is nestled 1–4 m high in dense undergrowth or a thicket, often near water. The female incubates the two brown-blotched greyish or greenish-blue eggs for 15–16 days until they hatch. Both parents then feed the young for another 14–16 days until they fledge.

Diet and Feeding

This thrush's diet consists of insects, spiders, and small fruits, which it forages for by turning over leaf litter on the forest floor.

Conservation status

The Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush is currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating a stable population.

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