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gray-cheeked thrush

gray-cheeked thrush (Catharus minimus)
Photo © Alan Murphy Photography

Features and Behaviors

The gray-cheeked thrush is about seven to seven and one-fourth inches long (tail tip to bill tip in preserved specimen). It has gray-brown feathers on the upper side of the body. Its cheek feathers are dark gray, and there is a gray eye ring. The breast feathers are mainly white with dark spots.

This species nests much further north than Illinois. These birds eat insects, insect larvae, fruits and mollusks. They are nocturnal migrants. Spring migrants begin arriving in Illinois in mid-April. Fall migrants start returning in mid-August. Gray-cheeked thrushes overwinter in Central and South America.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Turdidae

Illinois Status: common, native