Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Don Paul
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The breeding range of the hermit thrush, Catharus guttatus, includes most of Canada, New England, and much of the western United States. In winter, most populations migrate south to the southern United States and Mexico, but some areas, especially where the breeding range and the winter range adjoin, have year-round populations. In Utah, this species occurs statewide, though most commonly in forested areas and riparian zones. Most birds withdraw south from Utah in the winter, but this species may be found year-round in the Salt Lake Valley and the extreme southwestern corner of the state.

The hermit thrush feeds on insects and fruits, though the latter is a more important food source during migration and on wintering grounds. Male hermit thrushes are highly territorial during the breeding season; even potential mates are initially chased from the territory, sometimes for several days, until their presence is accepted. Nests are built by the female from grasses, leaves, bark, twigs, mud, and fine plant material; often nests are located on or near the ground hidden by the low branches of a conifer. Usually four eggs are laid and then incubated by the female for 12 or 13 days. Young are tended by both parents and leave the nest at 12 or 13 days of age. A second brood is produced after the first brood is independent.


  • Jones, P. W., and T. M. Donovan. 1996. Hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus). Birds of North America 261: 28 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.