Thrushes belong to the passerine or songbird family of Turdidae, which was introduced by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, a French polymath, in 1815 as Turdinia. This family contains over 170 species, which is further divided into 19 genera. The Aztec thrush, native to Mexico is one of them. The species was first introduced and described by Philip Lutley Sclater, an English lawyer, zoologist, and ornithologist as Ridgwayia pinicola in 1859. Later, in 1882, Leonhard Stejneger, a Norwegian-born American ornithologist, herpetologist, and zoologist moved them into their very own genus Ridgwayia, named after the ornithologist Robert Ridgway. They are the only members of the Ridgwayia genus. The two recognized subspecies of Aztec thrush (Ridgwayia pinicola) are found in the U.S and the forests of Mexico. These birds can be found in sub-tropical and montane forests. They were unknown in the U.S. until an individual bird was spotted in Big Bend National Park, Texas in the late '70s. Due to migration, they are occasionally seen near the Mexican border and Madera Canyon, Arizona. These birds are shy and fairly quiet, which is why people often do not notice them despite their dark plumage, and captivating patterns on the wings. This article will tell you everything about these birds including their distribution, migration habits, natural habitats, feeding, breeding, and nesting habits, current population and conservation status, similar species what they look and sound like!
An Aztec thrush (Ridgwayia pinicola) is a bird species belonging to the Animalia kingdom.
What class of animal does an Aztec thrush belong to?
The Aztec thrush (Ridgwayia pinicola) belongs to the Aves class, or the bird class, the family of Turdidae, the order Passeriformes, and is the only member of the genus Ridgwayia.
How many Aztec thrushes are there in the world?
The population size of Aztec thrush birds in the USA is estimated to be less than 50,000 individuals.
Where does an Aztec thrush live?
The Aztec thrush range occupies western Texas and is a rare visitor to the mountains of southeastern Arizona in the U.S. The species is native to Mexico. They were spotted in the U.S. in the late '70s at Big Bend National Park, Texas. The next record of this bird came from Madera Canyon, Arizona.
What is an Aztec thrush's habitat?
The Aztec thrush's (Ridgwayia pinicola) habitat includes subtropical and tropical regions, canyons, ravines, and damp hollows like the montane forests of Mexico. They are also found in pine, oak, fir, or mountain pine forests of Mexico, and often perch prominently on tree branches.
Who do Aztec thrushes live with?
These birds are often found alone or in a small flock. Sometimes they even join other birds and their groups while foraging on the ground or feeding on a chokecherry tree!
How long does an Aztec thrush live?
The average life span of an Aztec thrush is three to six years.
How do they reproduce?
Aztec thrushes are monogamous, meaning they mate with only one partner. Partners may change every breeding season. For birds of the southern range, the breeding season beings early May and last until June. An Aztec thrush male may try to impress and attract a female by songs or aerial acts. Once the Aztec thrush female selects her partner. A short while before the breeding season begins they begin looking for a nesting site to construct their nest in. The nest is mostly built by females and made of dry grass, twigs, and moss, and is bowl-shaped and lined with several fine materials, usually built inside the cavity or on the branch of a tree. After mating, the females lay about two to three eggs, in their nest. Aztec thrush eggs are pale blue and are incubated mostly by females for 9-14 days. Feeding, caring, and looking after the young chicks are carried out by both parents.
What is their conservation status?
Despite the declining population size, as these birds have an extensive range and the decline rate does not meet the criteria for the Vulnerable status, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has classified Aztec thrushes as a species of Least Concern.
Aztec Thrush Fun Facts
What do Aztec thrushes look like?
Since many people often cannot identify or differentiate between the thrush species. Here are several details about the Aztec thrush's physical appearance to help you identify them easily, the adult males have a uniform brown-black plumage, their upper parts including the head, neck and the area between their nape and rump are dark brown with light and softer streaks or markings, the beak is short and nearly black, wings are dark with white shoulders and tips. The primary coverts are black with gray edges, whereas, the median and greater coverts are dark brown or blackish-gray, with the greater coverts having white edges. Their flight feathers are mostly black with a few white spots and patches. Aztec thrushes have stunning wing and tail patterns and white underparts that contrast their dark hood, their legs are pale pink-orange. Females on the other hand have light and pale plumage with larger and dominant markings. The juvenile birds display golden buff marks on their head and back, they have red-brown or rust-colored underparts and a dark gray tail.
These birds are considered cute by many people because of their small size and striking patterns.
How do they communicate?
These birds communicate with each other mostly via vocalizations. Their calls include sounds like 'prreep', 'wheeerr', 'sweee uh' and 'whein'. Whereas, the song is an unsteady repetition of these calls overlapped and mixed with several other sounds.
How big is an Aztec thrush?
An Aztec thrush (Ridgwayia pinicola) can grow up to 8.5–9.4 in (21.5–24 cm) in size.
A stork is nearly six times bigger than an Aztec thrush!
How fast can an Aztec thrush fly?
Despite their small size, they can fly at a fairly high speed, as they are migratory birds. They fly swiftly with rapid wing beats!
How much does an Aztec thrush weigh?
An adult Aztec thrush weighs about 2.4–3.1 oz (67–88 g).
What are the male and female names of the species?
They do not have individual names for the males and females.
What would you call a baby Aztec thrush?
A baby Aztec thrush is called a chick.
What do they eat?
The Aztec thrush diet includes various small to medium-sized insects such as grasshoppers. These birds are omnivores and eat fruits, and berries as well, they are often found foraging in trees and occasionally on the ground. They also feed on chokecherry trees in the canyons near Arizona and Mexico.
Birds of prey, such as falcons, often hunt and feed on these birds.
Are they poisonous?
No, these birds are not poisonous.
Would they make a good pet?
Since these birds are wild, they may have aggressive behavior and might not warm to you. They would not make good pets and are best left in their natural habitat with their kind.
Did you know...
These birds are also known as perching birds or songbirds!
A unique fact about the Aztec thrust is that the first US record of Aztec thrush came in 1977 in Big Bend National Park.
Are Aztec thrushes endangered?
Yes, these birds are endangered as their population size is declining and struggling to recover because of habitat loss. However, as they have an extensive range and the decline rate is not rapid enough to meet the criteria, they cannot be classified as Vulnerable or Endangered.
How did the Aztec thrush get its name?
Aztec, was the name of an empire, or the triple alliance between the three Nahua altepetl city-states-Mexico (Tenochtitlan), Tetzcoco, and Tacloban. As these birds are native to Mexico they are called Aztec thrushes!
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our red-backed shrike facts and American pipit facts pages.
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