Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Veery - Catharus fuscescens
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General Comments The Veery is one of five very similar-looking "small" thrushes, in the genus Catharus. It is named after its song, which contains several "veer" sounds; however, maybe it should be named Veery Thrush, to be "in line" with the other thrush names. It breeds in the northern coniferous zone from the Canadian Maritimes to British Columbia, as well as down the spine of the Appalachians to northern Georgia. Thus, as a breeder in North Carolina, it is restricted to middle and high elevations, though it does pass through nearly all of the state in migration. Unlike a few other Catharus thrushes, its breeding range and abundance in the mountains has remained reasonably constant over the past few decades. Its habitats are cool forests -- spruce-fir stands, mixed spruce and hardwoods, northern hardwoods, and some cove forests; conifers are not a requisite in a territory. These sites are usually moist and have a dense herb layer. In migration, birds are most often found in hardwood forests, but are easily overlooked and relatively quiet, especially in fall.
Breeding Status Breeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank S4B
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Transient. Generally uncommon and easily overlooked, over the western two-thirds of the region; less common near the coast, more likely in fall. Mainly early to mid-May, and early Sep to early Oct. Peak counts:
Piedmont Transient. Generally uncommon in spring and fall, but can be fairly common in the western half, at least at times in both spring and fall. Mainly late Apr to mid-May, and late Aug to early Oct. Peak counts:
Mountains Summer resident and transient. In summer, fairly common to common and widespread at middle and higher elevations, above 3,500 feet; uncommon and local down to about 3,000 feet. In migration, uncommon to fairly common. Mainly late Apr to mid- or late Sep. However, singing is delayed in this species, and birds on territory often do not start singing until around 10 May. Remarkable was the state's first winter report -- one photographed just north of Murphy (Cherokee) on 7 Dec 2021* [Chat 86:62 link]; photos are on the Carolina Bird Club Photo Gallery, and this record has been accepted by the NC BRC [Chat 87:25 link]. Peak counts:
Finding Tips The Veery should be easily found (at least heard singing) in most forests above about 4,000 feet, and the higher in elevation the mixed hardwood-conifer forest the better.
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Attribution LeGrand[2023-05-16], LeGrand[2023-03-27], LeGrand[2022-04-27]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.
NC Breeding Season Map
Map depicts assumed breeding season abundance for the species.