WatchList Species Account for Bendire’s Thrasher
(Toxostoma bendirei)

Qualifies for the list as a Red List Species


Bendires Thrasher. Phtot: Bill Hubick
Photo: Bill Hubick

Bendire’s Thrasher, easily confused with the often sympatric Long-billed Thrasher and even the Sage Thrasher, inhabits sparse desert habitats in the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico. It is found in relatively open grassland, shrubland, and woodland with scattered shrubs and trees, or spiny shrubs and cacti. It is not found within denser habitats, such as riparian woodland. At higher elevations and at the northern end of its range, it can also be found in sagebrush with scattered junipers. It withdraws from the northern part of its range in the winter. Its distribution during breeding is patchy within its range.


Bendire's Thrasher forages principally on the ground, feeding on arthropods, seeds and berries.


Since the bird is rarely detected during Breeding Bird Surveys, there is little information on its population trends, but it may be expanding its range in New Mexico, perhaps due to grazing and an increase in junipers. Some authors suggest that its range has expanded due to clearing and agriculuture, while others state it has declined due to habitat destruction. Populations around Tucson have disappeared due to dense urbanization; in California there may be a negative effect from off-road vehicles and from harvest of Joshua Trees and other desert plants. Better population information is needed to reach an assessment of its true status.