Along the Natchez Trace

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Why the Clay-colored Robin?

When on our walk to town, Bill & I occasionally come across this Clay-colored Robin.  If you weren't tuned into the birding world you might not even notice it.  It's drab...  it just escapes being a "LBJ" (Little Brown Jobby...  the bane of all birders) because it's not small....  and perhaps because it hops around right in front of you.

We got to wondering why such a "Plain-Jane" would be awarded the honor of being the National Bird of Costa Rica.  Below are some excerpts I got off the internet....
"The clay-colored thrush (Turdus grayi), known locally as the yigüirro, was also once known as the clay-colored robin, but scientists later changed its family from robin to thrush. The species is one of Costa Rica’s most common birds and it is found throughout almost every region. The clay-colored thrush was designated Costa Rica’s national bird in January 1977. 
Clay-colored thrushes measure approximately nine inches tall, and both sexes exhibit yellow-brown plumage and a lightly striped neck, cream-colored stomach, and yellow-green bill. As do other robins and thrushes, these small birds hop instead of walk; upon landing, they often flick their tails back and forth. 

So, why not one of these flashy birds?
 Fiery-billed Aracari

 Keel-billed Toucan

 Scarlet Macaw

Resplendent Quetzal
I took the above photos of these very colorful birds when we lived in Costa Rica in 2012.

But it is the Clay-colored Robin (or Thrush) that gets the honors.

"The clay-colored thrush was chosen as the national bird for several reasons. Due to its wide range and tendency to live close to humans, it is well known and therefore mentioned in many of Costa Rica’s folk songs, short stories and novels. The males are also cherished for their exquisite song; during mating season, they serenade potential mates with an unmistakable tune. In Costa Rica, their mating season (usually April-June) coincides with the beginning of the green season, and therefore farmers have always taken the yigüirro’s song as the first sign  of coming rains."

So now, you too know the answer to my question...
The End

That's All For Today!


  1. Thanks for bit of local information about the birds,learn something new everyday!

  2. I enjoy birding! And I'm a little perplexed with you that it wouldn't be one of the other species. But maybe it's because it's common, not because it's a symbol. In that case, I like the humble. Thank you for sharing!

  3. That quite a nondescript looking bird to have the honors! I enjoyed your explanation of why. You sure did get some neat photos of the more colorful birds there.

  4. Were all those colorful bird pictures taken in the wild? Amazing.

  5. The Clay-colored Thrush is now common in South Texas.

  6. Beautiful photos again, Sharon. BTW, the Quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala; it's rarely seen, however, outside of the jungle areas. In 18 months there, I never saw one in person.

  7. I think that thrush is a fine little bird and should be honored above all others. Well, except maybe the wren, the king of all birds.

  8. And of course the American robin isn't a robin but a thrush. I was not aware of any other "robins". thanks for the photos and all the info.