Family Mockingbirds and Thrashers (Mimidae)

Least Concern

Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre)


French: Moqueur à bec courbe German: Krummschnabel-Spottdrossel Spanish: Cuitlacoche piquicurvo

Orpheus curvirostris


, 1827,

Tableland of Mexico


Races form two groups, E “curvirostre group” and less distinctly marked W “palmeri group”; groups intergrade somewhat in SW USA (Arizona). Genetic studies#R#R suggest that the two groups may represent separate species, but differences in morphology all minor, although call note relatively distinct#R. Form insularum (currently in “palmeri group”) may represent a further group, being morphologically distinct, but haplotypes from Tiburón I found to be intermixed within palmeri clade#R; synonymized with palmeri in some recent world lists#R. Race celsum poorly differentiated, perhaps not distinguishable. Possible undescribed taxon in extreme S of range in S Puebla and Oaxaca (“Oaxaca Thrasher”)#R; study needed. Seven subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. c. palmeri (Coues, 1872) – Western Curve-billed Thrasher – SW USA (SW & C Arizona) S to NW Mexico (S to C Sonora).
  • T. c. insularum van Rossem, 1930 – Tiburón I and San Esteban I, in Gulf of California off C Sonora coast (NW Mexico).
  • T. c. maculatum (Nelson, 1900) – NW Mexico (S Sonora, N Sinaloa, SW Chihuahua).
  • T. c. occidentale (Ridgway, 1882) – WC Mexico (Sinaloa S to Jalisco).
  • T. c. celsum R. T. Moore, 1941 – S USA (SE Colorado, SW Kansas and extreme NW Oklahoma S to SE Arizona, New Mexico and W Texas) and NC Mexico (S to Zacatecas).
  • T. c. oberholseri Law, 1928 – S Texas S to NE Mexico (S to SC Tamaulipas).
  • T. c. curvirostre (Swainson, 1827) – Eastern Curve-billed Thrasher – C & SC Mexico (S to Puebla and Oaxaca).
  • Descriptive notes

    25·5–28 cm; 67–90·5 g, average 79·4 g. Largish, grey-brown long-tailed desert thrasher with long, moderately decurved bill. Nominate race is... read more


    Song a long series of varied phrases with distinct pauses; less continuous, more disconnected and... read more


    Open desert with emergent trees and columnar cacti in Sonoran Desert, also lower scrubland in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet insects, especially beetles (Coleoptera), and other arthropods, also flowers and fruits of various shrubs; cactus fruits important... read more


    Breeds Feb to early Aug, season may shift later with sparse winter rainfall; two broods usual. Monogamous. Territorial, remains in... read more


    Resident; some local population shifts may occur, probably dependent on habitat and food... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and common. Main threat is loss of habitat through clearing for agriculture or suburban development, although this species is reasonably... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cody, M. (2019). Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre). 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 19 May 2019).