Bird of the Week, September 27, 2013
White-breasted Thrasher

 

White-breasted Thrasher by Mikka Pyhala

 

The White-breasted Thrasher—more closely related to the Gray Catbird than any thrasher species—is a rare bird, found only on St. Lucia and Martinique. On St. Lucia, it is known by the local name Gorge Blanc, which refers to the bird’s white throat. This inquisitive, talkative species often droops or twitches its wings when excited or curious.

 

The birds typically forage on the ground, tossing leaves aside as they hunt for invertebrates, small frogs, and lizards. Breeding seems to coincide with the start of the rainy season. This thrasher sometimes breeds cooperatively, and approximately one-third of nests have “helpers,” which are male or female offspring from previous years. Chicks leave the nest before they are completely independent, and continue to be fed on the ground by adults. Unfortunately, the chicks are noisy and often fall victim to the many introduced predators on the island, which include cats, rats, and Indian mongooses.

 

The main threat to this species is habitat loss—specifically tourism development. On St. Lucia, installation of a major resort has already resulted in large swaths of forest clearing. The White-breasted Thrasher could be driven to extinction on the island if developers fail to consider the bird’s conservation needs.

 

To learn more, read “The Art of Waiting,” an ABC blog post by Villanova University student Kate Freeman. Kate studied White-breasted Thrasher breeding biology on St. Lucia, with support from ABC, as part of her graduate studies.

 

Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!

 


 

 

 

Range Map, ABC