Clay-Colored Robin

Clay-Colored Robin

Clay-colored thrush , Clay-colored thrush

Turdus grayi
Population size
Life Span
9.6 years
g oz 
cm inch 

The clay-colored thrush (Turdus grayi ) is a common Middle American bird of the thrush family (Turdidae). It is the national bird of Costa Rica, where it is well known as the yigüirro (Spanish: ). Other common names include clay-colored robin.

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It ranges from South Texas (where it is rapidly expanding its range) to northern Colombia. West and north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, it is limited to the Atlantic slope, except for a population around Oaxaca City, Mexico that probably originates from escaped cage birds.

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The Clay-colored robin is a common Middle American bird of the thrush family. It is brownish in color, somewhat lighter below than above, lightest on the flanks. Birds from humid regions are darker than those from dry regions. The throat is faintly streaked. Immature birds have faint mottling on the back and underparts. The bill is greenish-yellow with a dark base, the legs are pinkish or flesh-colored, and the irises are reddish.



Clay-colored robins range from South Texas to northern Colombia; west and north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Mexico). They inhabit tropical dry forests, rainforests and can often be found in yards and gardens.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Clay-colored robins are diurnal birds that are permanently resident in warm climates of their range. They usually forage on the ground or near it, singly or in pairs, but may also gather in flocks to feed high in fruiting trees. Clay-colored robins move on the ground by hopping, and upon landing, they often flick their tails back and forth. Their song, rather low-pitched and with a slow steady tempo, consists of many slurred musical phrases that are often repeated irregularly. The flight call is like the American robin's but harsher.

Group name
Seasonal behavior
Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition

Clay-colored robins are herbivores (frugivores) and carnivores (insectivores). They feed on fruit, berries, insects, and occasionally may consume snails, small amphibians, and reptiles.

Mating Habits

12-14 days
2-4 eggs

Little is known about the mating system and reproductive behavior in Clay-color robins. However, it is suggested that they may exhibit monogamous behavior. This means that one male will form a pair bond only with one female. During the breeding season, males attract females with beautiful songs. Pairs build a heavy cup nest of grass, moss, feathers, leaves, and mud on firm support above the ground, which may include human constructions such as windowsills. The female lays 2 to 4 pale blue eggs with red-brown and gray markings between March and July and may produce two broods per season. Incubation usually lasts for 12 to 14 days and is done by the female.


Population threats

Clay-color robins don't face any major threats at present.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the total population size of the Clay-colored robin. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are increasing.

Ecological niche

Clay-colored robins feed on fruit and thus spread the seeds of various plants, contributing to the dispersal of many species and the recovery of ecosystems.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The Clay-color robin is the national bird of Costa Rica, where it is well known as the yigüirro (Spanish: [ʝi'ɣwiro]).
  • In 1977, the Costa Ricans chose the Clay-colored robin as a national symbol over many more colorful birds that inhabit the country due to its strong and melodious song that always comes during the start of the rainy season. In addition, unlike many of the forest songsters of Costa Rica, the Clay-colored robin has been familiar to the general population since the country's early history, thanks to its tendency to live near houses and settlements.
  • Clay-colored robins are not particularly territorial but they become very aggressive in defense of their nest. These small birds have been known to mob even large raptors such as Golden eagles!
  • In Panama, Clay-colored robins prefer to breed in the dry season, despite the shortage of food availability; most probably because the danger from predation during this period is less.
  • Clay-colored robins often follow army ants in order to feed on small prey disturbed by the ant columns.


1. Clay-Colored Robin on Wikipedia -
2. Clay-Colored Robin on The IUCN Red List site -
3. Xeno-canto bird call -

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