Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Veery
Catharus fuscescens

 

Taxonomy
Occurence in Illinois
Status
Habitat associations
Guilds
Food-habits
Environmental associations
Life history
Management practices
References


TAXONOMY

 

  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Turdinae
  • Genus: Catharus
  • Species: Catharus fuscescens
  • Authority: Stephens

Comments on taxonomy:
Two subspecies occur in Illinois, the more prevalent is C.f. salicicola, the gray western race. Also occurring is C.f. fuscescens, the red eastern race *07*. Other names: nightingale, tawny thrush, willow thrush, Wilson's thrush *03*.


OCCURENCE IN ILLINOIS

Early May - lt. May, early Sept. - lt. Sept. Common migrant in spring, uncommon migrant in fall. Occassional summer resident in north & very rare summer resident in upper part of central Illinois *01*. Southern limit of breeding range extended from Ogle & Cook Co's. To Lee & Iroquois, possibly farther *05,06*.

 


STATUS

Items in bold indicate applicable categories
Forest Service Categories: S = recommended for regional sensitive status, F = forest listed species, M = management indicator species

Federal Status:

Endangered Threatened Proposed for listing
Candidate for proposal Recovery plan approved Recovery plan received (USFWS)
Recovery plan in preparation Under notice of review Delisted
Migratory EPA indicator Forest Serv.- Shawnee species

State Status:

Endangered Threatened Proposed

Other:

Game Furbearer Nongame protected
Sportfish Commercial Pest None of the above

Comments on status:
The veery is included on the Illinois threatened species list 1977 *02*. The breeding population in Illinois is small & critical habitat is disappearing. The veery is also protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 1918 *19* & The Illinois Wildlife Code, 1971 *21*.

 


HABITAT ASSOCIATIONS

Items in bold indicate applicable categories

General habitat:

Unknown Terrestrial Aquatic Riparian

USFS timber inventory forest size class:

Unknown Unstocked Seedling Sapling
Seedling/sapling Pole Mature Over mature

Land use and land cover:

Unknown   Urban Residential
Commercial
Industrial
Transportation, communication
Complex industrial/commercial
Mixed
Other
Agricultural Crop, pasture
Orchards, groves, nurseries
Feedlot
Other
Rangeland Herbaceous
Shrub and brush
Mixed
Forestland Deciduous
Evergreen
Mixed
Water Stream
Lake

Reservoir
Bay
Wetland Forest
Non-forest
Barren Salt flat
Beach
Sand
Rock
Mine
Transit
Mix

 


Forest cover types:

Cover typeStructural stageCanopy closureSeason
Oak-pine All 71-100% Spring/summer
Oak-hickory All 71-100% Spring/summer
Elm-ash-cottonwood All 71-100% Spring/summer
All All All (0-100%) Fall

Associated tree species:

  • Wild black cherry
  • Dogwood
  • Mockernut hickory
  • Black locust
  • Black oak
  • Pin oak
  • Red oak
  • White oak
  • Black walnut

National wetland inventory classifications:

SystemSubsystemClassSubclassWater regime modifiersWater chemistry
Lacustrine Littoral Forest Deciduous Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Lacustrine Littoral Forest Evergreen Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Lacustrine Littoral Scrub/shrub Deciduous Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Lacustrine Littoral Scrub/shrub Evergreen Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Palustrine   Forest Deciduous Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Palustrine   Forest Evergreen Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Palustrine   Scrub/shrub Deciduous Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Palustrine   Scrub/shrub Evergreen Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Riverine Unknown perennial Forest Deciduous Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Riverine Unknown perennial Forest Evergreen Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Riverine Unknown perennial Scrub/shrub Deciduous Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Riverine Unknown perennial Scrub/shrub Evergreen Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Upland   Forest Deciduous Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Upland   Forest Evergreen Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Upland   Scrub/shrub Deciduous Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater
Upland   Scrub/shrub Evergreen Intermittently exposed/permanent nontidal Freshwater

Comments on species-habitat associations:
Apparently soil moisture & vegetation structure are most important components of habitat *08*. In Illinois, plant species & soils differed but habitats possessed similar structure, 2nd growth forest with mature trees present but also dense understory *see 05,06*. Mostly associated with deciduous bottomland forest but also occurs in upland forest. Tends to seek cooler microclimates in particular areas, i.e. thickets, low areas, swamps *05,08*.

Important plant and animal association: Brown-headed cowbird. Commonly parasitized by cowbirds but frequency varies throughout range *03*.

High value habitats

HabitatStructural stageSeason
Deciduous forest land All Fall
Deciduous forest land All Spring/summer
Forested wetland All Fall
Forested wetland All Spring/summer
Forest All Fall
Mesic upland forest All Spring/summer
Wet-mesic upland forest All Spring/summer
Mesic sand forest All Spring/summer
Floodplain forest All Spring/summer

Species-habitat interrelations: The veery occurs mostly in moist or floodplain deciduous forest with
See comments on high-value habitat. Shrub or herbaceous understory *08*. In New York, disturbed forests supported greater numbers of veeries than undisturbed apparently because of their denser understory *13*. Bertin suggests 2 major factors that influence veery presence are 1) moisture regime, 2) herbaceous & woody cover (0.2-3M). Optimum vegetation conditions are assumed if 1) deciduous shrub crown cover > 70%; 2) shrub height of 1.5-3.0 m; 3) herbaceous cover >90% with average height of 30 cm *08*. The major factor determining habitat suitability in non-wetland cover types with suitable moisture is vegetative cover & the major factor determining suitability in non-wetland cover types with suitable vegetation is soil moisture *08*. The value of wetland cover types that are partially flooded during spring & summer depends on the amount of available ground surface *08*.


GUILDS

Feed-guilding:

HabitatStructural stageSeasonFeed-guilds
Forest All Fall Shrub strata- flowers, fruits, seeds of deciduous shrubs
Tree canopy- flowers, fruits, seeds of lianas
Forest All Fall Terrestrial surface- arthropods
Terrestrial surface- invertebrates other than arthropods
Shrub strata- arthropods
Shrub strata- invertebrates other than arthropods
Tree canopy- arthropods
Tree canopy- invertebrates other than arthropods
Forest All Spring/summer Terrestrial surface- arthropods
Terrestrial surface- invertebrates other than arthropods
Shrub strata- arthropods
Shrub strata- invertebrates other than arthropods
Tree canopy- arthropods
Tree canopy- invertebrates other than arthropods

Comments on feed-guilding:
Feeds mostly on ground turning over leaves & debris but also foliage gleans & flycatches *08,13*. Eats insects during spring & summer with mostly wild fruit eaten in fall *08,12*. Insects 60%, vegetative matter (wild fruit) 40% *08,15*.

Breed-guilding:

HabitatStructural stageSeasonBreed-Guilds
Forest All Spring/summer Terrestrial surface
Terrestrial surface, grass and grasslike vegetation
Terrestrial surface, forb vegetation
Terrestrial surface, supine or dwarf woody vegetation
Shrub strata, canopy of broad-leaved deciduous shrubs

Comments on breed-guilding:
Exact location of copulation unknown. Nesting takes place on ground or slightly raised, at base of shrub, between stems of herbaceous growth, sapling stems, shrubs *06,08,10,13*.


FOOD-HABITS

Food itemLife stage/plant part
Lauraceae (laurel) Fruit/seeds
Rosaceae (rose, cherry, plum, apple) Fruit/seeds
Anacardiaceae (cashew) Fruit/seeds
Cornaceae (dogwood) Fruit/seeds
Phytolaccaceae (pokeweed) Fruit/seeds
Vitaceae (grape, creeper) Fruit/seeds
Vaccinaceae (huckleberry) Fruit/seeds
Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle, elderberry) Fruit/seeds
Liliaceae (lily, onion) Fruit/seeds
Invertebrates Unknown
Annelida: Ogliochaetas (earthworms) Unknown
Mollusca: Gastropoda (snails) Unknown
Arachnida (spiders, ticks, scorpions, daddy longlegs) Unknown
Malacostraca (isopods, amphipods, crayfishes) Unknown
Insecta Unknown
Odonata (dragonflies, damselfiles) Unknown
Hemiptera Unknown
Coleoptera (beetles) Unknown
Lepidoptera (butterfiles, moths) Unknown
Diptera (flies, midges, mosquitoes) Unknown
Hymenoptera (ants, wasps, bees) Unknown
Important:
Lauraceae (laurel) Fruit/seeds
Rosaceae (rose, cherry, plum, apple) Fruit/seeds
Vitaceae (grape, creeper) Fruit/seeds
Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle, elderberry) Fruit/seeds
Invertebrates Unknown
Insecta Unknown
Coleoptera (beetles) Unknown
Lepidoptera (butterfiles, moths) Unknown
Hymenoptera (ants, wasps, bees) Unknown
Juvenile:
Lauraceae (laurel) Fruit/seeds
Rosaceae (rose, cherry, plum, apple) Fruit/seeds
Anacardiaceae (cashew) Fruit/seeds
Cornaceae (dogwood) Fruit/seeds
Phytolaccaceae (pokeweed) Fruit/seeds
Vitaceae (grape, creeper) Fruit/seeds
Vaccinaceae (huckleberry) Fruit/seeds
Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle, elderberry) Fruit/seeds
Liliaceae (lily, onion) Fruit/seeds
Invertebrates Unknown
Insecta Unknown
Odonata (dragonflies, damselfiles) Unknown
Coleoptera (beetles) Unknown
Lepidoptera (butterfiles, moths) Unknown
Adult:
Lauraceae (laurel) Fruit/seeds
Rosaceae (rose, cherry, plum, apple) Fruit/seeds
Anacardiaceae (cashew) Fruit/seeds
Cornaceae (dogwood) Fruit/seeds
Phytolaccaceae (pokeweed) Fruit/seeds
Vitaceae (grape, creeper) Fruit/seeds
Vaccinaceae (huckleberry) Fruit/seeds
Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle, elderberry) Fruit/seeds
Liliaceae (lily, onion) Fruit/seeds
Invertebrates Unknown
Annelida: Ogliochaetas (earthworms) Unknown
Mollusca: Gastropoda (snails) Unknown
Arachnida (spiders, ticks, scorpions, daddy longlegs) Unknown
Malacostraca (isopods, amphipods, crayfishes) Unknown
Insecta Unknown
Odonata (dragonflies, damselfiles) Unknown
Hemiptera Unknown
Coleoptera (beetles) Unknown
Lepidoptera (butterfiles, moths) Unknown
Diptera (flies, midges, mosquitoes) Unknown
Hymenoptera (ants, wasps, bees) Unknown

Comments on food habits: 
General: Eat mostly insects in spring & summer, mostly wild fruits in the fall. Coleoptera & hymenoptera seem important *15,18*.
Juvenile: Parents feed insects to nestlings *08,10*. Assume wild fruits are important to juveniles during migration *00*.
Adult: See [FH].


ENVIRONMENTAL ASSOCIATIONS

General:

  • Water level: seasonally flooded
  • Water level: saturated
  • Flood plain: see comments
  • Aquatic habitats: vegetated streambank
  • Aquatic habitats: bogs
  • Aquatic habitats: swamp
  • Vegetation mosaics/edges: see comments
  • Shrubs: see comments
  • Coniferous forest: see comments
  • Hardwood forest: see comments
  • Ground cover- shrub (%): see comments
  • Ground cover- shrub canopy ave. ht: see comments
  • Ground cover- herbaceous canopy ave. ht: see comments
  • Vegetation successional stage: subclimax forest
  • Human associations: see comments
  • Unknown

Limiting:

  • Water level: seasonally flooded
  • Water level: saturated
  • Ground cover- shrub (%): see comments
  • Ground cover- shrub canopy ave. ht: see comments
  • Ground cover- herbaceous canopy ave. ht: see comments

Egg

  • Unknown

Feeding juvenile:

  • Flood plain: see comments
  • Aquatic habitats: vegetated streambank
  • Aquatic habitats: bogs
  • Aquatic habitats: swamp
  • Vegetation mosaics/edges: see comments

Resting juvenile:

  • Flood plain: see comments
  • Aquatic habitats: vegetated streambank
  • Aquatic habitats: bogs
  • Aquatic habitats: swamp

Feeding adult:

  • Flood plain: see comments
  • Aquatic habitats: vegetated streambank
  • Aquatic habitats: bogs
  • Aquatic habitats: swamp
  • Vegetation mosaics/edges: see comments

Resting adult:

  • Flood plain: see comments
  • Aquatic habitats: vegetated streambank
  • Aquatic habitats: bogs
  • Aquatic habitats: swamp

Breeding adult:

  • Water level: seasonally flooded
  • Water level: saturated
  • Flood plain: see comments
  • Aquatic habitats: vegetated streambank
  • Aquatic habitats: bogs
  • Aquatic habitats: swamp
  • Ground cover- shrub (%): see comments
  • Ground cover- shrub canopy ave. ht: see comments
  • Ground cover- herbaceous canopy ave. ht: see comments

Comments on environmental associations:
General: 
Feeding juvenile: Feed in area of nest, adopting adult habits when fledged *00,01*. 
Resting juvenile: Assumed to rest in nest, forest understory & canopy *00*.
Feeding adult: Feeds on forest floor, understory & canopy *03,13*.
Resting adult: Assumed to rest in forest understory, canopy & female on nest *00*. Rests on ground and in trees *04*.
Breeding adult: See [HI].


LIFE HISTORY

Origin: NATIVE *01*.

Physical description: Sexes outwardly alike, 6.50-7.75 Inches in length, wingspread 11.25-12.60 Inches, female smaller. Slender tawny brown bird, whitish below with tawny brown v shaped spots on buffy breast. Spots less distinct than on other thrushes *03,15,17*. two races present in Illinois, gray & red (see [TA]).

Reproduction: No information available for Illinois. Assume breeding season from lt. May-July *00*. Dilger (1956) states males arrive on breeding grounds before females & establish territories which they defend against conspecifics. Upon arrival, females seek out males & pair formation takes place *13*. Additional information on courtship or copulation unavailable. Nest building performed by female, assume she chooses nest site *00,13*. Nest usually placed at ground level or slightly raised in vegetation. Rarely as high as 8-10 ft. *15*. Bulky cup nest is constructed of twigs, grasses, leaves & mosses, if ground is wet a thick foundation is built *04, 08,13*. In new hampshire, building of nest required 6-10 days depending on weather *04*. Terres (1980) reports eggs being layed May-June *03*. Eggs are pale blue, usually unmarked, 22.4 x 16.7 mm (50) *03,04*. Ave. clutch size usually 4 (3-5) *03,04,10,15*. Eggs are layed on consecutive days & incubation apparently begins with last egg *10*. The female alone incubates, 10-12 days *10,15*. Hatchlings are naked, with sparce gray down *10*. Both male & female feed young, not by regurgitation but bring whole insects, size increasing with age *see 10*. At 5 days eyes open with fledging usually at 10-11 days sometimes 12-14 *10,13*. No information on productivity, age at sexual maturity or maximum breeding ages are unavailable. Forbush (1929) reports one or two broods yearly *15*.

Behavior: The veery is apparently seasonally monogamous *00*. The male chooses the breeding territory which is used for display & nesting *13*. Bertin in Sousa (1982) reports territories range in size from 0.1 ha to several ha *08*. Ave. size of territories in Ontario were 0.27 + Or - .24 Ha (Martin in Sousa 1982) *08*. For high density figures see *08,13*. In Illinois 1 bird in McLean Co. actively cruised an area of 100 by 60 m and another in Mason Co. An area of 80 x 40 m *05*. The veery is a night migrant, appearing in s. Illinois approx. 20 May with most through Illinois by 20 Sept. *06,15*. Apparently more common during spring migration than fall migration *01*. The veery is almost wholly insectivorous during its breeding season, becoming highly frugivorous in late summer & fall *08*. Apparently insects provide needed proteins to breeding adults & nestlings while wild fruits provide carbohydrates for energy during migration *00*. Dispersal of young is unknown.

Limiting factors: Until more is known about the veery the most critical limiting factor appears to be loss of woodland habitat to real estate development & agriculture *02,06*. Enemies include squirrels, chipmunks & raptors *00,04,10*. The veery is also a common host to the brown-headed cowbird but frequency of parasitism varies throughout the veery's range *03*. No other information on limiting factors is available.

Population parameters: No information is available on relative trend. It appears the veery is extending its breeding range southward in Illinois, but the destruction of forested land, especially bottomland, may effect their progress. No information exists on mortality or survival rates. Adult sex ratio is assumed 1:1 *00*. Average lifespan in unknown, although 2 retrapped when at least 3 yrs. Old *03*. Oldest bird 9 yrs. 11 Mos. In N.J. *03,20*.

 


MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

Beneficial:

  • Maintaining undisturbed/undeveloped areas
  • Maintaining natural areas and nature preserves
  • Developing/maintaining edge (ecotones)
  • Maintaining habitat diversity
  • Preserving sensitive species habitat
  • Performing special survey prior to prescription
  • Performing field survey prior to prescription
  • Controlling land use and human activities
  • Controlling pollution
  • Developing/maintaining wetlands
  • Maintaining bogs
  • Protecting existing wetlands
  • Developing/maintaining riparian habitat
  • Developing/maintaining streamside vegetation to prevent erosion and provide riparian habitat
  • Site preparation for revegetation of mined land- establishing woody wildlife area
  • Developing/maintaining native vegetation
  • Selection method of silviculture- group
  • Reforestation
  • Reforestation by natural regeneration
  • Forest protection
  • Developing/maintaining woodlots
  • Developing/maintaining forest edge
  • Developing/maintaining mature hardwood forest
  • Maintaining forests

Adverse:

  • Recreational development
  • Removing bank vegetation
  • Clean farming
  • Uncontrolled grazing by domestic livestock
  • Strip mining
  • Cutting and deforestation
  • Clearcutting forests
  • Shelterwood method of silviculture
  • Vine removal in forest areas
  • Reforestation, site preparation- control of understory

 


REFERENCES

0. MALMBORG, P.L. ILLINOIS NAT. HIST. SURV., 607 E. PEABODY DR., CHAMPAIGN, IL. (217)333-6846.

1. BOHLEN, H. 1978. AN ANNOTATED CHECK-LIST OF THE BIRDS OF ILLINOIS. ILLINOIS STATE MUS. POP. SCI. SER., VOL. IX. 156 P.

2. BOWLES, M.L., V.E. DIERSING, J.E. EBINGER AND H.C. SCHULTZ, EDS. 1981. ENDANGERED AND THREATENED VERTEBRATE ANIMALS AND VASCULAR PLANTS OF ILLINOIS. ILLINOIS DEPT. CONSERV. 189 P.

3. TERRES, J. 1980. AUDUBON SOCIETY: ENCYCLOPEDIA OF NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS. ALFRED KNOPF, NEW YORK. 1109 P.

4. BENT, A.C. 1949. LIFE HISTORIES OF NORTH AMERICAN THRUSHES, KINGLETS & THEIR ALLIES. U.S. NATL. MUS. BULL. NO 196.

5. BIRKENHOLZ, D.E. 1979. SUMMERING VEERIES IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS. ILLINOIS AUDUBON BULL 187:25.

6. GRABER, J.W. & R.W. GRABER. 1973. NESTING DISTRIBUTION OF THE VEERY IN ILLINOIS. ILLINOIS AUDUBON BULL. 164:50-52.

7. GRABER, R.R., J.W. GRABER & E.L. KIRK. 1971. ILLINOIS BIRDS: TURDIDAE. ILLINOIS NAT. HIST. SURV. BIOL. NOTES NO. 75. 44 PP.

8. SOUSA, P.J. 1982. HABITAT SUITABILITY INDEX MODELS: VEERY. U.S. DEPT. INTERIOR, FISH WILDL. SERV. FWS/OBS-82/10.22. V + 12 PP.

9 .BERTIN, R.I. 1977. BREEDING HABITATS OF THE WOOD THRUSH & VEERY. CONDOR 79:303-311.

10. DAY, K.C. 1953. HOME LIFE OF THE VEERY. BIRD-BANDING 24:100-106.

11 .MENGER, R. 1965. THE BIRDS OF KENTUCKY. ORNITH. MONOGR. NO. 3. 581 P. 12. SPRUNT, A. AND E. CHAMBERLAIN. 1970. SOUTH CAROLINA BIRD LIFE. UNIV. SOUTH CAROLINA PRESS, COLUMBIA. 655 P.

13. DILGER, W.C. 1956. ADAPTIVE MODIFICATIONS & ECOLOGICAL ISOLATING MECHANISMS IN THE THRUSH GENERA CATHARUS & HYLOCICHLA. WILSON BULL. 68(3):171-199.

14. MORSE, D.H. 1971. EFFECTS OF THE ARRIVAL OF A NEW SPECIES UPON HABITAT UTILIZATION BY TWO FOREST THRUSHES IN MAINE. WILSON BULL. 83(1):57-65.

15. FORBUSH, E.H. 1929. BIRDS OF MASSACHUSETTS, VOL. III. NORWOOD PRESS, NORWOOD, MA. 466 P.

16. AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION. 1982. THIRTY-FOURTH SUPPLEMENT TO THE AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION. CHECK-LIST OF NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS. SUPPLEMENT AUK 99(3).

17. PETERSON, R. 1980. A FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS. 4 ED. HOUGHTON-MIFFLIN CO., BOSTON. 384 P.

18. MARTIN, A., H. ZIM AND A. NELSON. 1951. AMERICAN WILDLIFE AND PLANTS. MCGRAW-HILL BOOK CO., NEW YORK. 500 P

. 19. U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE. 1983. CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS. TITLE 50. WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES. CHAPTER 1. PP 11-18. 50CFR10.13. LIST OF MIGRATORY BIRDS. SPECIAL PUBL. FEDERAL REGISTER. GENERAL SERVICES ADMIN. OCTOBER 1.

20. KENNARD, J.H. 1975. LONGEVITY RECORDS OF NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS. BIRD-BANDING 46(1):55-73.

21. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION. 1980. CONSERVATION LAWS. CHAP 61: WILDLIFE. ART II. PAR. 2.2. REPRINTED FROM ILLINOIS REVISED STATUTES, 1979. WEST PUBL. CO., ST. PAUL, MN. 120 P.

 


 

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