Most regions of the world have a friendly thrush species that hops around on the front lawn and nests in the garden. In North America, the American Robin heralds the coming of spring and in Eurasia the Blackbird carols from gardens. In Costa Rica the dry season is announced by the friendly song of the Clay-colored Robin. Ticos call it the “Yiguirro” and picked the Clay-colored Robin as their national bird despite Costa Rica having spectacular bird species such as the Scarlet Macaw and Resplendent Quetzal.
Clay-colored Robins are similar in size and shape to American Robins and Eurasian Blackbirds but are uniformly brown in coloration with a yellowish bill. The color of the bill separates the Clay-colored Robin from the dark-billed Mountain Robin. Although the Mountain Robin replaces the Clay-colored at higher elevations, their ranges can overlap in cloud forest areas. Listen for the song; caroling phrases similar to those of its northern counterparts.
Behavior in Costa Rica
Although not as bold as the robins of North America and Eurasia, the Clay-colored Robin in Costa Rica is still a friendly garden bird. They forage on the ground for worms and other invertebrates but tend to eat more fruit than the robins of the north. Clay-colored Robins will gorge themselves on backyard fruiting trees such as Oranges and Guayabas and also visit fruit feeders. Clay-colored Robins nest at the end of the dry season so their young can benefit from the abundance of food available at the start of the wet season.
Habitat and distribution in Costa Rica
The Clay-colored Robin is a bird species of the forest edge. If you think you see one deep inside the rainforest of the Caribbean slope, you have probably seen a Pale-vented Thrush. The Clay-colored occurs in open areas with scattered trees such as parks and gardens and is found in suitable habitat throughout Costa Rica from the lowlands to around 1,500 meters.