Gray-cheeked Thrush: Small thrush (minimus), with olive-brown upperparts, buff-brown breast with brown spots, and white or buff belly. Gray eye-ring is indistinct. Upper mandible is black with pale base, while lower mandible is yellow with black tip. Tail and rump have rust-brown wash.
Range and Habitat
Gray-cheeked Thrush: Breeds from northern Alaska across northern Canada to Newfoundland, south to northern British Columbia, northern Ontario, and central Quebec. Spends winters in Central and South America. Preferred habitats include coniferous forests (primarily spruce), tall shrubby areas in taiga, deciduous forests, and open woodlands.
Gray-cheeked and Bicknell's thrushes were only recently recognized as separate species. Most of the information published in the last century on "Gray-cheeked Thrush" concerned the Bicknell's Thrush instead of the Gray-cheeked.
A reticent bird, it keeps mostly under cover, searching for food on the ground.
It is all but indistinguishable from Bicknell's Thrush except by its slightly larger size and different song.
A group of thrushes are collectively known as a "hermitage" and a "mutation" of thrushes.
The Gray-cheeked Thrush is a medium bird, measuring only 15 to 17 cm in length. Breeding grounds are found throughout northern spruce forests in northern Canada and Alaska. They migrate to South America in winter months, and rarely Europe. These birds are long-distance migrants, and regularly cross the Atlantic Ocean to warmer climates in to spend the winter there. Nests are built at the base of trees or low levels on conifers. Food for the Gray-cheeked Thrush is foraged on the forest floor. Diets consist mainly of insects and berries. The conservation rating for the Gray-cheeked Thrush is Least Concern.