Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Black-billed Nightingale-thrush (Catharus gracilirostris)


French: Grive à bec noir German: Graukehl-Musendrossel Spanish: Zorzalito piquinegro

Catharus gracilirostris


, 1865,

Volcán de Cartago, Costa Rica


Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. g. gracilirostris Salvin, 1865 – Costa Rica.
  • C. g. accentor Bangs, 1902 – W Panama (W Chiriquí).
  • C. g. bensoni Griscom, 1924 – E Chiriquí, in W Panama.
  • Descriptive notes

    14·5–16 cm; 21 g. Small thrush. Nominate race has dull grey crown, warm brown upperparts, mid-grey face and pale grey chin and throat; olive-brown to pale brown... read more


    Song resembles that of C. frantzii, but thinner, higher and inferior, a series of varied... read more


    Undergrowth of cold, wet highland oak forest, forest borders, second growth, park-like highland... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, spiders and other invertebrates; also many berries. Forages on ground or on large horizontal or inclined branches, probing tufts... read more


    Mar–Jun in Costa Rica. Nest a bulky cup of green moss and rootlets, with finely woven lining of grass stems and fine rootlets, placed... read more


    Mainly sedentary. In Panama a few wander lower, to 1500 m, in W Chiriquí, although unclear whether... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Costa Rica and Panama Highlands EBA. In Costa Rica, common to abundant in forest (abundance increasing above... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Black-billed Nightingale-thrush (Catharus gracilirostris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 January 2020).