Pearly-eyed Thrasher

Pearly-eyed Thrasher
Pearly-eyed Thrasher
Immature Northern Pearly-eyed Thrasher
Margarops fuscatus fuscatus
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Mimidae
Genus: Margarops
P.L. Sclater, 1859
Species: M. fuscatus
Binomial name
Margarops fuscatus
(Vieillot, 1808)

The Pearly-eyed Thrasher (Margarops fuscatus) is a bird found in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and Antilles. Its genus, Margarops, is considered monotypic today; formerly the Scaly-breasted Thrasher was placed here too. The present species, however, is now known to be closer to the Cinclocerthia tremblers (Hunt et al. 2001, Barber et al. 2004).

It prefers to live in bushes and trees in mountain forests and coffee plantations. The Pearly-eyed Thrasher is described as an aggressive, opportunistic omnivore that feeds primarily on large insects, but also feeds on fruits and berries, and will occasionally eat lizards, frogs, small crabs and other bird’s eggs and nestlings. It grows to 28 to 30 cm (11 to 11.8 inches) in length.

This species nests in cavities. In Puerto Rico, it is known to compete with the critically endangered Puerto Rican Amazon for nesting sites and may even destroy the eggs of this species.[1]

While this is not a migratory bird, considerable gene flow between populations appears to have taken place at least until fairly recently in its evolutionary history. Still, two subspecies can be identified: Margarops fuscatus fuscatus which is found between the Greater Antilles and Antigua and Barbuda, M. f. densirostris, occurring from Montserrat and Guadeloupe southwards. When exactly the Pearly-eyed Thrasher lineage diverged from its relatives cannot be said with reasonable certainty at the moment, as no fossils are known and the standard molecular clock model cannot be applied to the Mimidae as mutation rates seem to have varied over time.(Hunt et al. 2003)


  1. ^ Ellis, Richard (2004). No Turning Back: The Life and Death of Animal Species. New York: Harper Perennial. pp. 167. ISBN 0-06-055804-0. 
  • BirdLife International (2004). Margarops fuscatus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 26 April 2007. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Hunt, Jeffrey S.; Bermingham, Eldredge; & Ricklefs, Robert E. (2001): Molecular systematics and biogeography of Antillean thrashers, tremblers, and mockingbirds (Aves: Mimidae). Auk 118(1): 35–55. DOI:10.1642/0004-8038(2001)118[0035:MSABOA]2.0.CO;2 HTML fulltext without images

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