The adult Wood Thrush is 18 to 21.5 cm (7.1 to 8.5 in) long, with a wingspan of 30 to 40 cm (12 to 16 in) and a body mass of 48 to 72 g. It is slightly smaller than the common American robin. The crown, nape, and upper back of this bird are cinnamon-brown, while the back wings, and tail are a slightly duller brown. The breast and belly are white with large dark brown spots on the breast, sides, and flanks. It has white eye rings and pink legs. Other brownish thrushes have finer spotting on the breast. Both sexes are similar.

Habitat and Distribution

The Wood Thrush's breeding range extends from Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia in southern Canada to northern Florida and from the Atlantic coast to the Missouri River and the eastern Great Plains. It migrates at night, usually to southern Mexico through to Panama in Central America in the winter, mostly in the lowlands along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The bird prefers deciduous and mixed forests and moderately dense shrub layer.


Soil invertebrates and larvae make up most of the diet. They also take fruits and occassionally, arboreal insects, snails, and small salamanders. The birds forage on the forest floor, flipping leaves with their bills.


The breeding season is from mid-April to early-May. The nest is usually sited in a dense patch of vegetation in a tree or shrub. It is usually made of dead grasses, stems, and leaves, and lined with mud, and placed in a fork at a horizontal branch. Two to four pale blue eggs are laid at the rate of one per day. The female incubates for 11 to 14 days. The chicks fledge 12 to 15 days after hatching.

Calls and Songs

The males sing two notes at once, which gives its song an ethereal, flute-like quality. The bird also has a nocturnal flight call which is an emphatic buzzing heeh. They also use a bup, bup, bup phrase or tut, tut as a call.