Migratory Bird Program
Conserving the Nature of America
Focal Species

Bicknell’s Thrush (Catharus bicknelli)

Bicknell’s Thrush (Catharus bicknelli) has been identified as a focal species of management concern because it is one of the rarest (about 25,000-50,000 birds), most range-restricted species in North America.  Bicknell’s Thrush is confined to high altitude conifer forest habitats found primarily in the far northeastern United States and adjacent areas in Quebec and the Canadian Maritime provinces.  Its range and population numbers have declined for several decades, due to loss or degradation of breeding, wintering, and/or migratory stopover habitat.  Breeding habitat may have been negatively affected by acid and heavy metal (e.g., mercury) deposition, recreational (e.g., ski area) and industrial (e.g., cellular telephone and wind tower) development, natural disturbances (e.g., spruce budworm outbreaks), and unsustainable timber harvesting. 

Researchers predict that climate change will significantly reduce available Bicknell’s Thrush breeding habitat in coming years, and it could also cause serious changes in natural processes such timing of prey emergence, and cyclical populations of nest predators.  Other threats to the species include collision with man-made structures during migration, and further loss of critical coastal stopover habitat or wintering habitat in the Caribbean. 


International Bicknell’s Thrush Conservation Group.  Retrieved August 2009 from http://www.bicknellsthrush.org/.

National Audubon Society.  The 2007 Audubon WatchList: Bicknell’s Thrush.  Retrieved August 2009 from http://web1.audubon.org/science/species/watchlist/profile.php?

Rimmer, C. C., K. P. McFarland, and W. G. Ellison. 2001. Bicknell's Thrush (Catharus bicknelli). The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved August 2009 from http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/59



Bicknell’s Thrush

Bicknell's Thrush

Bicknell’s Thrush - Photo by Henry Trombley

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Last updated: December 2, 2011