It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The Curve-billed Thrasher is generally 25 to 28 cm (10 to 12 inches) long, slender in build with a long tail, and a long, curved, sickle-shaped bill. It is pale grayish-brown above with lighter-colored underparts that are vaguely streaked. The tips of the tail are streaked with white, and the sides of the tail are a darker color than its back. The eye of an adult is usually a vivid orange or red-orange, although immature birds have a yellow eye.
The Curve-billed Thrasher is commonly found throughout the deserts and brush-filled areas of the south-western United States, from about the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and across New Mexico to west Texas, as well as most of Mexico, from the Sonoran-Chihuahuan Deserts and south through the Mexican Plateau to regions south of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt in south-central Mexico.
In birds affected by what scientists have termed “avian keratin disorder,” the keratin layer of the beak becomes overgrown, resulting in noticeably elongated and often crossed beaks, sometimes accompanied by abnormal skin, legs, feet, claws and feathers.
“The prevalence of these strange deformities is more than ten times what is normally expected in a wild bird population,” said research biologist Colleen Handel with the USGS, “We have seen effects not only on the birds’ survival rates, but also on their ability to reproduce and raise young. We are particularly concerned because we have not yet been able to determine the cause, despite testing for the most likely culprits.”
The disorder, which has increased dramatically over the past decade, affects 6.5 percent of adult Black-capped Chickadees in Alaska annually.