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Swainson's thrush

Swainson's thrush (Catharus ustulatus)
Photo © Alan Murphy Photography

Features and Behaviors

Swainson’s thrush is about seven inches long. It has a buff-colored ring around the eye. This same coloration can be seen on the cheek and breast feathers. The back and head have olive-brown feathers. The breast feathers have dark spots.

Swainson’s thrush is a common migrant through the state. It feeds on insects, other small invertebrates and fruits. Its closest nesting location to Illinois is in northern Wisconsin. This species winters from Mexico to South America. Spring migrants start arriving in mid-April. Fall migrants begin appearing in mid-August.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native