Catharus guttatus - (Pallas, 1811)
Hermit Thrush
Other English Common Names: hermit thrush
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Catharus guttatus (Pallas, 1811) (TSN 179779)
French Common Names: grive solitaire
Spanish Common Names: Zorzal Cola Rufa
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100340
Element Code: ABPBJ18110
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Perching Birds
Image 7606

© Larry Master

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Passeriformes Turdidae Catharus
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Catharus guttatus
Taxonomic Comments: This species formerly was placed in genus Hylocichla (AOU 1983). Systematics are complex and have little consensus. Several subspecies are recognized by various authors. The American Ornithologists' Union (1957) and Ripley (1964) recognized eight subspecies, Aldrich (1968) recognized 10 subspecies, and Phillips (1991) recognized 13 (see Jones and Donovan 1996). Subspecies vary morphologically, especially in wing, tail, and tarsus length, and plumage coloration; bill length increases from north to south of range, tarsus length decreases from north to south (Aldrich 1968). Three generally recognizable groups include birds occurring east of the Rocky Mountains, central Alaska south through the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains, and west and north of the Sierra Nevada-Cascade ranges along the Pacific coast (Lane and Jaramillo 2000).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 07Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 03Dec1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Widespread, abundant, and secure.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (19Mar1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,NUN,N5M (02Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5N), Alaska (S5B), Arizona (S5), Arkansas (S4N), California (SNR), Colorado (S5B), Connecticut (S5B), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (S3N), Florida (SNRN), Georgia (S5), Idaho (S4B), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (S3N), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (S3S4N), Louisiana (S5N), Maine (S4B,S4N), Maryland (S3S4B,S4N), Massachusetts (S5B), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (SNA), Missouri (SNRN), Montana (S5B), Navajo Nation (S5B), Nebraska (SNRN), Nevada (S4B), New Hampshire (S5B), New Jersey (S4B,S4N), New Mexico (S5B,S5N), New York (S5B), North Carolina (S2B,S5N), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (S1), Oklahoma (S3N), Oregon (S4), Pennsylvania (S4B), Rhode Island (S4B), South Carolina (S4?N), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (S2B,S4N), Texas (S4B), Utah (S4B,S2N), Vermont (S5B), Virginia (S1B,S5N), Washington (S4N,S5B), West Virginia (S3B,S4N), Wisconsin (S4B), Wyoming (S5B)
Canada Alberta (S5B), British Columbia (S5B), Labrador (S5B,S5M), Manitoba (S5B), New Brunswick (S5B,S5M), Newfoundland Island (S5B,S5M), Northwest Territories (S5B), Nova Scotia (S5B), Nunavut (SUB,SUM), Ontario (S5B), Prince Edward Island (S5B), Quebec (S5), Saskatchewan (S4B), Yukon Territory (S5B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Breeding range extends from western and central Alaska across southern Mackenzie to southern Labrador and Newfoundland, south to southern Alaska, in the mountains to southern and eastern California, southern Nevada, central and southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, and western Texas; east of the Rockies to southwestern and central Alberta, central Saskatchewan, northern Minnesota, northeastern Ohio, western Virginia, western Maryland, southern New Jersey, and southern New York; also isolated breeding population in Black Hills, South Dakota (AOU 1998). Breeding also occurs in the Sierra San Pedro Martir, Baja California (Erickson and Wurster 1998). Nonbreeding range extends from southern British Columbia, northern U.S., southern Ontario and New England, south to southern Baja California, through Mexico to Guatemala and El Salvador, southern Texas, Gulf Coast, southern Florida, and the northern Bahamas (AOU 1998).

Area of Occupancy: >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations).

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Global population estimate is 56,000,000 birds (Rich et al. 2004).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Potential threats include human-caused and natural habitat alteration or loss, effects of human intrusion, and natural causes of mortality such as predation and severe weather events. However, on a range-wide scale, this species is not significantly threatened.

Changes in abundance have been noted in response to various tree removal practices. Some researchers suggest that Hermit Thrush populations are equally stable on both logged and unlogged habitats (Webb et al. 1977, Medin 1985) and that density and productivity are higher in younger stands (Rangen et al. 2000). Others suggest that breeding densities are higher in unlogged habitats (Franzreb and Ohmart 1978, Medin and Booth 1989, Jones and Donovan 1996, Hanowski et al. 2003).

Hermit Thrush densities have decreased following wildfires. Declines resulted both immediately (Apfelbaum and Haney 1981) and several years post- burn (8 years later; see sources in Jones and Donovan 1996).

Habitat fragmentation and the resultant increase in edge habitats may negatively affect nesting success due to increased predator abundance and activity along edges (Manolis et al. 2002). Hames (1999) reported that as forest habitat fragmentation increased, nesting attempts decreased throughout the species' North American range.

Martin and Roper (1988, in Jones and Donovan 1996) suggested that disturbance by researchers did not impact thrush nesting behavior or success in Arizona, but Gutzwiller and Anderson (1999) reported that low levels of human intrusion increased displacement of thrushes and resulted in lower abundance than prior to intrusion events in the Snowy Mountains, Wyoming.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable to increase of <25%

Long-term Trend: Relatively Stable to increase of >25%
Long-term Trend Comments: Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data indicate a positive population trend throughout much of the range since 1966, possibly as a result of expansion of suitable habitat from woodland cutting (Jones and Donovan 1996). For the period 1980-2005, BBS data indicate a positive survey-wide trend of 0.8% per year (P<0.01, n = 1086; Sauer et al. 2005). Christmas Bird Count (CBC) surveys also show a survey-wide increase of 2.2% per year for the period 1965-2002 (Niven et al. 2004).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Breeding range extends from western and central Alaska across southern Mackenzie to southern Labrador and Newfoundland, south to southern Alaska, in the mountains to southern and eastern California, southern Nevada, central and southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, and western Texas; east of the Rockies to southwestern and central Alberta, central Saskatchewan, northern Minnesota, northeastern Ohio, western Virginia, western Maryland, southern New Jersey, and southern New York; also isolated breeding population in Black Hills, South Dakota (AOU 1998). Breeding also occurs in the Sierra San Pedro Martir, Baja California (Erickson and Wurster 1998). Nonbreeding range extends from southern British Columbia, northern U.S., southern Ontario and New England, south to southern Baja California, through Mexico to Guatemala and El Salvador, southern Texas, Gulf Coast, southern Florida, and the northern Bahamas (AOU 1998).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NC Ashe (37009), Avery (37011), Buncombe (37021), Graham (37075), Haywood (37087), McDowell (37111), Mitchell (37121), Swain (37173), Watauga (37189), Yancey (37199)
OH Ashland (39005), Hocking (39073), Lake (39085), Lorain (39093), Summit (39153)
VA Grayson (51077), Highland (51091), Russell (51167), Smyth (51173), Tazewell (51185)*, Washington (51191)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 South Branch Potomac (02070001)+
03 Upper Catawba (03050101)+
04 Huron-Vermilion (04100012)+, Cuyahoga (04110002)+, Grand (04110004)+
05 Hocking (05030204)+, Mohican (05040002)+, Upper New (05050001)+, Middle New (05050002)+*, Lower Scioto (05060002)+
06 North Fork Holston (06010101)+, South Fork Holston (06010102)+, Watauga (06010103)+, Upper French Broad (06010105)+, Pigeon (06010106)+, Nolichucky (06010108)+, Tuckasegee (06010203)+, Lower Little Tennessee (06010204)+, Upper Clinch (06010205)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small bird (thrush).
Reproduction Comments: Clutch size usually is 3-4. Incubation, by female, lasts 12-13 days. Young are tended by both parents, leave nest at 10-12 days.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Long-distance migrant throughout Canada and most of U.S. breeding range.
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Desert, Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Old field, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Open humid coniferous and mixed forest and forest edge, dry sandy and sparse jackpine, less frequently in deciduous forest and thickets; in migration and winter also chaparral, riparian woodland, arid pine-oak, desert scrub. Negatively impacted by forest fragmentation in southern Wyoming (Keller and Anderson 1992). Associated with large (>24 ha) aspen groves in Saskatchewan (Johns 1993). Nests usually on ground under conifer with low branches or hidden by low plants, or in low conifer or other tree or bush within 3 m of ground.
Adult Food Habits: Frugivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Frugivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats insects and other invertebrates mostly from ground; also eats small fruits (Terres 1980).
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Length: 17 centimeters
Weight: 31 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: Research needed on breeding biology, including estimation of adult and juvenile survival and nest success in different habitats; basic nesting information such as number of broods, offspring and nest attempts per year; fidelity to natal, breeding, and wintering sites; and determination of subspecies validity using studies of geographic dispersal and genetic or morphological characteristics (Jones and Donovan 1996). However, effective conservation of this species does not depend on this research.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Passerines

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Nest Site, Nesting Colony
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.

Mapping Guidance: Breeding occurrences include nesting areas as well as foraging areas.

For swallows and other species that have separate nesting and foraging areas, separations are based on nest sites or nesting areas, not to locations of foraging individuals. For example, nesting areas separated by a gap larger than the separation distance are different occurrences, regardless of the foraging locations of individuals from those nesting areas. This separation procedure is appropriate because nesting areas are the critical aspect of swallow breeding occurrences, tend to be relatively stable or at least somwhat predictable in general location, and so are the basis for effective conservation; foraging areas are much more flexible and not necessarily static.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Significant dispersal and associated high potential for gene flow among populations of birds separated by tens of kilometers (e.g., Moore and Dolbeer 1989), and increasing evidence that individuals leave their usual home range to engage in extrapair copulations, as well as long foraging excursions of some species, make it difficult to circumscribe occurrences on the basis of meaningful population units without occurrences becoming too large. Hence, a moderate, standardized separation distance has been adopted for songbirds and flycatchers; it should yield occurrences that are not too spatially expansive while also accounting for the likelihood of gene flow among populations within a few kilometers of each other.

Be careful not to separate a population's nesting areas and foraging areas as different occurrences; include them in the same occurrence even if they are more than 5 km apart. Mean foraging radius (from nesting area) of Brown-headed Cowbird females was 4.0 kilometers in California, 1.2 kilometers in Illinois-Missouri (Thompson 1994). Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Brewer's Blackbirds, and probably Red-winged Blackbirds all forage up to 1.6 kilometers away from breeding colony (Willson 1966, Horn 1968). In one study, Brewer's Blackbirds were found as far as 10 kilometers from nesting area (Williams 1952), but this may be unusual.

For swallows and other parrerines with similar behavioral ecology, separation distance pertains to nest sites or nesting colonies, not to locations of foraging individuals. For example, nesting areas separated by a gap of more than 5 km are different occurrences, regardless of the foraging locations of individuals from those nesting areas. This separation procedure is appropriate because nesting areas are the critical aspect of swallow breeding occurrences, tend to be relatively stable or at least somwhat predictable in general location, and so are the basis for effective conservation; foraging areas are much more flexible and not necessarily static.

Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.

Unsuitable habitat: Habitat not normally used for breeding/feeding by a particular species. For example, unsuitable habitat for grassland and shrubland birds includes forest/woodland, urban/suburban, and aquatic habitats. Most habitats would be suitable for birds with versatile foraging habits (e.g., most corvids).

Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Roost Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: For most passerines: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating individuals (including historical) and potential recurring presence at a given location; minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds in appropriate habitat.

For swallows: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating flocks (including historical) and potential recurring presence at a given location; minimally a reliable observation of 100 birds in appropriate habitat (e.g., traditional roost sites).

Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually.

EOs should not be described for species that are nomadic during nonbreeding season: e.g., Lark Bunting.

Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary but intended to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.

For swallows and other species with similar behavioral ecology, the separation distance pertains to communal roost sites rather than to foraging areas; the former tend to be more stable and specific over time than the latter.

Date: 03Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Roost Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Any area used traditionally in the nonbreeding season (used for populations that are not resident in a location year-round). Minimally, reliable observations of 10 or more individuals in appropriate habitat for 20 or more days at a time. For G1-G3 species, observations of fewer individuals could constitute an occurrence of conservation value. Sites used during migration should be documented under the 'migratory stopover' location use class.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance is necessarily arbitrary but attempts to balance the high mobility of birds with the need for occurrences of reasonable spatial scope. Note that a population's roost sites and foraging areas are parts of the same occurrence, even if they are more than 5 km apart.

For swallows and other species with similar behavioral ecology, the separation distance pertains to communal roost sites rather than to foraging areas; the former tend to be more stable and specific over time than the latter.

Date: 03Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.

Use Class: Nonmigratory
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a particular location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in or near appropriate habitat.

These occurrence specifications are used for nonmigratory populations of passerine birds.

Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Significant dispersal and associated high potential for gene flow among populations of birds separated by tens of kilometers (e.g., Moore and Dolbeer 1989), and increasing evidence that individuals leave their usual home range to engage in extrapair copulations, as well as long foraging excursions of some species, make it difficult to circumscribe occurrences on the basis of meaningful population units without occurrences becoming too large. Hence, a moderate, standardized separation distance has been adopted for songbirds and flycatchers; it should yield occurrences that are not too spatially expansive while also accounting for the likelihood of gene flow among populations within a few kilometers of each other.

Be careful not to separate a population's nesting areas and breeding-season foraging areas as different occurrences; include them in the same occurrence even if they are more than 5 km apart. Blue jays have small summer home ranges but fly up to 4 kilometers to harvest mast (Tarvin and Woolfenden 1999). Flocks of pinyon jays range over 21-29 square kilometers (Ligon 1971, Balda and Bateman 1971); nesting and foraging areas may be widely separated. Tricolored blackbirds forage in flocks that range widely to more than 15 kilometers from the nesting colony (Beedy and Hamilton 1999).

Unsuitable habitat: Habitat not normally used for breeding/feeding by a particular species. For example, unsuitable habitat for grassland and shrubland birds includes forest/woodland, urban/suburban, and aquatic habitats. Most habitats would be suitable for birds with versatile foraging habits (e.g., most corvids).

Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Notes: These specs pertain to nonmigratory species.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 03Jan2008
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 24Jan1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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