Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Brown-backed Solitaire (Myadestes occidentalis)


French: Solitaire à dos brun German: Braunrückenklarino Spanish: Solitario dorsipardo

Myadestes obscurus var. occidentalis


, 1882,

Tonila, Jalisco, Mexico


In the past placed in genus Phaeornis and species name then obscurus, but latter became preoccupied when Phaeornis merged with present genus. Genetic data#R#R suggest that present species and M. unicolor are sisters. Proposed race cinereus (from NW Mexico) synonymized with nominate, and both deignani (from SW Oaxaca) and orientalis (proposed replacement for obscurus) with oberholseri. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. o. occidentalis Stejneger, 1882 – W & EC Mexico.
  • M. o. insularis Stejneger, 1882 – Tres Marías Is, off W Mexico.
  • M. o. oberholseri Dickey & van Rossem, 1925 – C & S Mexico S to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
  • Descriptive notes

    20·5–21·5 cm; 38–44 g. Nominate race has black lores and narrow, often ill-defined white supraloral line, broken white eyering, white submoustachial... read more


    Song, usually from concealed perch (and characteristic of highland forest), highly ventriloquial, a... read more


    Dense humid to semi-arid evergreen, semi-deciduous and pine-oak (Pinus-Quercus)... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruit, especially of Bumelia and Prunus. Forages mainly in lower to middle levels of forest, also in clearings.


    Feb–Jul; may possibly extend into Sept (copulation also seen end Jul) and breed at successively higher elevations with advent of... read more


    Apparently sedentary in most of range; descends lower in winter locally in W Mexico, and in Sonora... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common throughout range. Common breeder in Mexico on Cerro San Felipe and near Cerro Baúl (Oaxaca). Fairly common resident in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Brown-backed Solitaire (Myadestes occidentalis). 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 17 February 2020).