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Version 1.0

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Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus gracilirostris

César Sánchez-M.
Version: 1.0 — Published March 4, 2009


Distinguishing Characteristics

Similar Species

The only other species of nightingale-thrush that could be sympatric with the Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush is the Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus frantzii), which can be found at the same habitat up to about 3000 m. Overall the Black-billed is smaller and darker than Ruddy-capped, but the Black-billed Nightingale-thrush has a completely black bill, the face, crown are dark gray, the underparts are gray with a brownish band across its chest, in comparison to the Ruddy-capped whose underparts are light gray, the upperparts are more rusty, and a bright orange lower mandible.

Detailed Description

The Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush has a chunky body, short rounded wings and long skinny legs. The plumage overall is dark in color. Upperparts, including the wings and the upper surtace of the tail, are olive-brown. The face and forecrown are slate-gray; the same color dominates most of chest and belly, except for a whitish throat, and a light gray to whitish area in the central lower part of the belly. There also is a olivaceus band across the chest, which is fainter at the center of the chest.
The young birds are duller above, and more tinged with olive; the wing coverts have pale fringes;  the forecrown, face and throat are sooty-gray, tinged with olive; the rest of underparts duller and darker than adult; and the chest and upper belly have washed spotting (Stiles and Skutch 1989)


No information.

Bare Parts

Iris dark brown. Bill black. Tarsi and toes dark gray.


Catharus gracilirostris gracilirostris (n=51): culmen: 16.5 ± 1.51 mm; wing: 76.18 ± 3.19 mm; tail: 62.77 ± 4.06 mm; tarsus: 32.09 ± 1.87 mm. Mass 20.25 ± 1.51 g (C. Sánchez unpub. data).

Catharus gracilirostris accentor male (n=8): culmen 15.1-17.0 mm; wing: 71.2-78.4 mm; tail 56.7-66.7 mm; tarsus: 30.9-33.4 mm; female (n=6): culmen 14.3-18.3 mm; wing: 70.8-74.8 mm; tail 54.6-62.2 mm; tarsus: 30.0-31.1 mm (Wetmore et al. 1984).

Catharus gracilirostirs bensoni (n=3): male (n=1): culmen 15.3 mm; wing: 68.9 mm; tail 62.8 mm; tarsus: 30.5 mm; female (n=2): culmen 14.2-15.0 mm; wing: 68-69 mm; tail 59.7-62.7 mm; tarsus: 29.7 - 31.8 mm (Wetmore et al. 1984).

Recommended Citation

Sánchez-M., C. (2009). Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus gracilirostris), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.bbnthr1.01