Toxostoma bendirei


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Toxostoma bendirei
Species Authority: (Coues, 1873)
Common Name(s):
English Bendire's Thrasher

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2ce+3ce+4ce ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Inigo, E., Rosenberg, K. & Wells, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Bird, J., Harding, M., Sharpe, C J
This species is listed as Vulnerable because it is suspected to be undergoing a rapid decline. However, recent trends are poorly documented, and further information may warrant a revision of its status. Putative threats are poorly understood, but the species may be negatively impacted by habitat destruction and degradation resulting from agricultural expansion and development.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Toxostoma bendirei is found in south-west USA and north-west Mexico, from southern Nevada, southern Utah and south-western Colorado south to central Sonora. Its status in Baja California is unresolved (England and Laudenslayer 1993, Brewer and MacKay 2001). Within this range its distribution is patchy and in some cases poorly known (owing to low observer density in desert regions and confusion with other similar Toxostoma species) (England and Laudenslayer 1993). Individuals in the northern portion of the range migrate south in the winter and overlap with more southern residents (England and Laudenslayer 1993, Brewer and MacKay 2001). The species is now so rare that trends cannot be estimated reliably from Breeding Bird Survey data (J. Wells, K. Rosenberg and E. Inigo in litt. 2003), but declines between 1966 and 2003 equate to 34.5%.

Mexico; United States
Present - origin uncertain:
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Rich et al. (2003).

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is found in sparse desert habitats from sea level in Sonora to approximately 1,800 m in Utah (England and Laudenslayer 1993, Brewer and MacKay 2001). Throughout its range, breeders favour relatively open grassland, shrubland or woodland with scattered shrubs or trees; it is not found in dense vegetation. It forages primarily on the ground, probing for insects and other arthropods, but will also eat seeds and berries (England and Laudenslayer 1993). It also digs with its bill, but less frequently, not as powerfully nor as efficiently as other thrashers (England and Laudenslayer 1993). In the Mojave desert, California, migration begins as soon as breeding finishes, with breeding grounds vacated by late August (Brewer and MacKay 2001).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Populations have been eliminated by dense urbanisation around Tucson and by large scale agriculture along the Gila River. In California potential threats may include harvesting of Joshua trees and other yuccas, overgrazing and off-road vehicle activity. However, there have been suggestions that clearing and agricultural activities actually favour this species (England and Laudenslayer 1993). Competition with the Curve-billed Thrasher Toxostroma curvirostre for a depleted food supply may have contributed to a decline in the population.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The species has been classified as a "Species of Special Concern" by California Department of Fish and Game, and protected from take. No information exists on other management actions (England and Laudenslayer 1993). The species occurs within a number of protected areas.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Research its ecology and determine key habitat requirements. Research the benefits of an increase in scattered junipers from grazing. Study potential competition with Curve-billed Thrashers. Avoid disturbance to and development of important habitats. Determine the taxonomy of Baha Californian populations.

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Toxostoma bendirei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 28 August 2015.
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