Already a subscriber? Sign in Don't have a subscription? Subscribe Now
Veery
Catharus fuscescens
Order
PASSERIFORMES
– Family
TURDIDAE
Authors: Moskoff, William
Revisors: Bevier, Louis R., Alan F. Poole, and William Moskoff

Welcome to the Birds of North America Online!

Welcome to BNA Online, the leading source of life history information for North American breeding birds. This free, courtesy preview is just the first of 14 articles that provide detailed life history information including Distribution, Migration, Habitat, Food Habits, Sounds, Behavior and Breeding. Written by acknowledged experts on each species, there is also a comprehensive bibliography of published research on the species.

A subscription is needed to access the remaining articles for this and any other species. Subscription rates start as low as $5 USD for 30 days of complete access to the resource. To subscribe, please visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology E-Store.

If you are already a current subscriber, you will need to sign in with your login information to access BNA normally.

Subscriptions are available for as little as $5 for 30 days of full access! If you would like to subscribe to BNA Online, just visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology E-Store.

Introduction

Adult Veery, Ohio, May.
Adult Veery, Ohio, May
Figure 1. Breeding distribution of the Veery.

A tawny-colored thrush with a mellifluous song that cascades through the deep woods on its breeding grounds in the U.S. and Canada, the Veery bears a scientific name that reflects the beauty of its song and coloration: Catharus, from the Greek katharos, means “pure,” referring possibly to the texture of the song, and fuscescens, from the Latin fuscus, means “dusky” (Choate 1985). It was first described in 1831 by ornithologist Alexander Wilson, who gave the species two names—Wilson’s Thrush and Tawny Thrush (Wilson and Bonaparte 1831).

This Neotropical migrant regularly crosses the Gulf of Mexico in spring and fall, breeding in early-successional, damp, deciduous forests, often near streamside thickets or swamps. Where its breeding range overlaps those of the Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) and Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus), the Veery generally chooses wetter, younger woodlands than these other thrushes do. It is primarily a ground forager, feeding mostly on insects when breeding and on fruit in late summer and fall. The Veery’s distinctive, ethereal song prevails at dusk, and this species can distinguish between the vocalizations of neighbors and strangers, reacting aggressively when the latter intrude on a territory.

Key studies have focused on the Veery’s song (Stein 1956, Dilger 1956a), its migratory behavior (Cochran et al. 1967, Cochran 1972, Suthers 1987-1988, Diehl and Larkin 1998), and how it and other spot-breasted thrushes partition habitat on their breeding grounds (Dilger 1956b, Bertin 1977, Noon 1981), but this species remains poorly studied in many regards, especially on its wintering grounds in South America. Recent studies have focused on nest site selection (Heckscher 2004), wintering distribution (Remsen 2001), and systematics and the evolution of migration in this and other Catharus thrushes (Outlaw 2003).