The wood thrush is a North American passerine bird. It is closely related to other thrushes such as the American robin and is widely distributed across North America, wintering in Central America and southern Mexico. The wood thrush is the official bird of the District of Columbia.
The wood thrush is a medium-sized thrush, with brown upper parts with mottled brown and white underparts. The male and female are similar in appearance. The song of the male is often cited as being the most beautiful in North America.
The wood thrush is an omnivore, and feeds preferentially on soil invertebrates and larvae, but will also eat fruits. In the summer, it feeds on insects continuously in order to meet daily metabolic needs. It is solitary, but sometimes forms mixed-species flocks. The wood thrush defends a territory that ranges in size from 800 to 28,000 m2 (960 to 33,490 sq yd). The wood thrush is monogamous, and its breeding season begins in the spring; about 50% of all mated pairs are able to raise two broods, ranging in size from two to four chicks.
The longest known lifespan for a wood thrush in the wild is 8 years, 11 months. The crown, nape, and upper back 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. The juvenile looks similar to adults, but has additional spots on the back, neck, and wing coverts. The male and female are similar in size and plumage.
The wood thrush has been reported to have one of the most beautiful songs of North American birds. American naturalist Henry David Thoreau wrote:
Whenever a man hears it he is young, and Nature is in her spring; wherever he hears it, it is a new world and a free country, and the gates of Heaven are not shut against him.