The Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum), is a species of thrasher and is part of the family Mimidae. Its breeding range includes the United States and Canada east of the Rocky Mountains. It is a partial migrant, with northern birds wintering in the southern USA, where it occurs throughout the year. Although this bird is widespread and still common, it has declined in numbers in some areas due to loss of suitable habitat.
The Brown Thrasher is mostly brown or reddish-brown above, with a white breast and throat streaked with brown, and two white bars on each wing. It has a long tail, and its beak is also relatively large and somewhat curved. Adults average about 11.5 inches in length. This bird is omnivorous, eating insects, berries, nuts and seeds, as well as earthworms, snails and sometimes lizards.
The female lays 3 to 5 eggs in a twiggy nest lined with grass. The nest is built in a dense shrub or low in a tree. Both parents incubate and feed the young. These birds raise two or three broods in a year. They are able to call in up to 3000 distinct songs. The male sings a series of short repeated melodious phrases from an open perch to defend his territory and is also very aggressive in defending the nest.
The Brown Thrasher is the official state bird of Georgia, and the inspiration for the name of Atlanta’s National Hockey League team, the Atlanta Thrashers.