Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Russet Nightingale-thrush (Catharus occidentalis)


French: Grive roussâtre German: Braunkopf-Musendrossel Spanish: Zorzalito piquipardo

Catharus occidentalis

P. L. Sclater

, 1859,

Totontepec, Oaxaca, Mexico


Formerly considered conspecific with C. frantzii. Race olivascens has been accorded full species rank in the past, but vocally similar to other races. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. o. olivascens Nelson, 1899 – Olive Nightingale-thrush – NW Mexico (SE Sonora, W Chihuahua S to N Sinaloa and NW Durango).
  • C. o. lambi A. R. Phillips, 1969 – C Mexico (Durango S to NW Jalisco and SE Coahuila S to NW Puebla).
  • C. o. fulvescens Nelson, 1897 – SW Mexico (S Jalisco E to Puebla, S to Guerrero).
  • C. o. occidentalis P. L. Sclater, 1859 – Russet Nightingale-thrush – S Mexico (Oaxaca).
  • Descriptive notes

    15·5–18 cm; 26 g. Nominate race has rich rufous-brown crown, shading through to warm russet upperparts; face greyish-brown, throat whitish with buff flecks spreading... read more


    Song consists of varied, thin, tinny-sounding phrases, “she-vee-ee-i-lu” or “chee ti-vee”,... read more


    Fairly open understorey of humid to semi-arid open pine-oak and oak forest, bordering patches of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates and fruit. Forages on ground in dense cover, sometimes coming out in open at dawn; also in trees for berries.


    Apr–Jul/Aug. Nest of grass and plant material, moss on outside, well concealed at low to middle level in tree or bush, occasionally... read more


    Mainly resident. Extreme N populations may move S in winter, and S populations (fulvescens... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common; common in Pacific and interior regions of Oaxaca.

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Russet Nightingale-thrush (Catharus 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 22 January 2020).