Catharus minimusgrey-cheeked thrush

Geographic Range

Northeast Siberia across Alaska and northern Canada to north-central Quebec, Labrador, and Newfoundland. South to northern British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. (Barker,2000)

During the winter, the Gray-Cheeked Thrush migrates to the northern part of South America into Colombia, Venezuela, south to Peru, and into northwest Brazil. (Chipper Woods Bird Observatory, 2000)


Occupant of the boreal forest of northern Canada and Alaska. Little is known about their winter habitat. (Laughlin, S.B.,1985)

They will seek cover under large rocks in sparsely vegetated arctic regions. (Barker, 2000)

Physical Description

The length of the Gray-Cheeked Thrush is about 16 centimeters. The sexes are similar and have a distinctive song which is very high pitched with quick chippers. They have olive-brown upper parts, gray cheeks, and pink legs. The under parts are white with grayish flanks. It also has a gray, indistinct eye ring. (Laughlin,1985)

  • Average mass
    24.8 g
    0.87 oz


The Gray-Cheeked Thrush usually has one brood per season. They will lay a second brood if the first nest fails early in the season. The female builds the nest which normally consists of dried grasses mixed with a supporting layer of mud. The incubation period is thirteen to fourteen days. They incubate between three to five eggs, but usually only four. The eggs are light greenish-blue, marked with light brown dots or splotches, and are oval to short-oval in shape. The young are initially dependent on their parents for food. (Barker, 2000)

  • Average eggs per season
  • Average time to hatching
    13 days



Males sing from the top of a low tree or shrub. They sing mainly during dawn or dusk. They will sometimes sing during the day except during the breeding season. (Barker, 2000)

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

The Gray-Cheeked Thrush eats mostly insects such as beetles, weevils, ants, wasps, and caterpillars. They may also consume spiders, crayfish, sow bugs, and earthworms. They also eat grapes, wild cherries, blackberries, and raspberries.(Barker, 2000)

Their habit of eating berries contributes to the propagation of plants as undigested seeds are transported to other locations.(Chipper Woods Bird Observatory, 2000)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The Gray-Cheeked Thrush benefits humans by eating insects that annoy or harm us.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no negative affects on humans or the environment from the Gray-Cheeked Thrush.

Conservation Status

Gray-cheeked thrushes have a large range and large population size. They are protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Act.


Dayna Baillo (author), Milford High School, George Campbell (editor), Milford High School.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map


living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map


uses sound to communicate

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.


rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


uses touch to communicate


Coniferous or boreal forest, located in a band across northern North America, Europe, and Asia. This terrestrial biome also occurs at high elevations. Long, cold winters and short, wet summers. Few species of trees are present; these are primarily conifers that grow in dense stands with little undergrowth. Some deciduous trees also may be present.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


A terrestrial biome with low, shrubby or mat-like vegetation found at extremely high latitudes or elevations, near the limit of plant growth. Soils usually subject to permafrost. Plant diversity is typically low and the growing season is short.


uses sight to communicate


Barker, S. 2000. "Birds In Forested Landscape" (On-line). Accessed October 15, 2000 at

Chipper Woods Bird Observatory, 2000. "Gray-cheeked Thrush" (On-line). Accessed October 3, 2000 at

Kaufman, K. 2000. Birds of North America. New York: Hillstar Editions.

Laughlin, S., D. Kibbe. 1985. "Gray-Cheeked Thrush Catharus minimus" (On-line). Accessed October 8, 2000 at