Catharus fuscescens
A Veery specimen on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

Paler and less heavily-streaked than the other thrushes breeding in North America, the Veery (6 ½ - 7 ½ inches) is most easily identified by its tawny-colored back and head. Other field marks include pink legs, white breast, and dark eye lacking any noticeable eye-ring. Male and female Veerys are similar to one another in all seasons. The Veery breeds across southern Canada and the northern U.S. Smaller populations occur at higher elevations in the Rockies and the Appalachians south to New Mexico and Georgia, respectively. This species is a long-distance migrant, breeding in southeastern Brazil. In summer, Veerys breed in wet deciduous forests. On migration, this species may be found in the undergrowth of various kinds of forests across North America. Little is known about the Veery’s habitat preferences in winter due to the relative inaccessibility of its winter range, but all records for this species at that time of year come from dense tropical forests. Veerys eat fruits, berries, and insects during the breeding season; fruits are presumed to make up a large part of this species’ diet on winter grounds. The vast majority of North American birders, including many scientists, never see the Veery in its winter range. This species is much easier to observe in summer and on migration, although it is more often heard than seen due to its preference for habitats with thick vegetation. Veerys may be observed foraging food while hopping along the forest floor or through the branches of trees. Males may be located by listening for their unique, onomatopoeic song. The Veery is most active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.

DC Information

Common migrant and occasional summer resident in moist forests. Migrates through this region in May and early September; residents breed from early May to mid-July. Sexes are similar.

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalizations

Sound from xeno-canto. XC16955 Catharus fuscescens (Veery)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC17121 Catharus fuscescens (Veery)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC17122 Catharus fuscescens (Veery)