GREY-CHEEKED THRUSH (Catharus minimus) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Grey-cheeked Thrush is mostly grey on top (including the cheeks) with lighter grey undersides. There is some tinge of brown on the wings. Breast and throat are whitish with dark spots. Bill is grey. Legs are pinkish-grey, eyes are black. Sexes are similar. Bird length is about 15 cm (6 inches).
NAME: ‘Thrush’ would mean ‘to twitter’. Latin genus name ‘Cattarus’ means ‘pure, clean’, in reference to bird’s song. Latin species name ‘minimus’ means ‘small’. Name also spells as ‘Gray-cheeked Thrush’.
HABITAT: Boreal forest in summer, woodlands with thick under story during migration, tropical forests in the winter.
DIET: Insects, spiders, berries.
NESTING: Nest built on or near the ground. About four blue-green eggs are laid, incubated by the female. Chicks fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeding range covers northern boreal forest of Canada and Alaska. During migration, observed in rest of Canada and USA east of the Rockies, also Cuba and Yucatan Peninsula. Winters in northwest South America. Rare vagrant (see note below on Bird Vagrancy) to Europe.
Distribution Map:
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, rare or occasional except winter.
CONSERVATION: Widespread and numbers around 16 million, not currently considered at risk.

Bird Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Hermit Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Bicknell’s Thrush (very similar)
REFERENCES: (Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas) (Montana Field Guide) (University of Michigan) (Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas)
Gray-cheeked Thrush – Newfoundland and Labrador Species At Risk (.pdf file)

Grey-cheeked Thrush on nest – Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, AK – photo by Dave Menke, USFWS
Grey-cheeked thrush on nest, AK
by Dave Menke, USFWS
Grey-cheeked Thrush – Florida – May 2013 – photo by Peter Crosson
Grey-cheeked thrush, FL, Peter Crosson