Pearly-eyed Thrasher (Margarops fuscatus)

Pearly-eyed Thrasher


The pearly-eyed thrasher (Margarops fuscatus) is a bird in the thrasher family Mimidae. It is found on many Caribbean islands, from the Bahamas in the north to the Grenadines in the south, with an isolated population on Bonaire. At least two subspecies can be distinguished genetically: Margarops fuscatus fuscatus which is found between the Greater Antilles and Antigua and Barbuda, M. f. densirostris, occurring from Montserrat and Guadeloupe southwards. Its main habitat is bushes and trees in mountain forests and coffee plantations.

Distribution And Habitat

The Pearly-eyed Thrasher is a widespread species throughout the West Indies (Arendt 2006, Raffaele and others 1998). In Puerto Rico, it is a common resident throughout Puerto Rico (Arendt 2006, Raffaele and others 1998, Recher and Recher 1966), Mona (Biaggi 1997, Terborgh and Faaborg 1973), Vieques (Gemmill 2015, Saliva 1994, Wetmore 1916), and Culebra (Wetmore 1917). This species is commonly found in trees and bushes in gardens, coffee plantations, mountain forests (Oberle 2018), thickets, woodlands, mangroves, coastal palm groves, mountain tops, urban areas, and forested areas at all elevations (Raffaele and others 1998). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 781 records within 370 hexagons or 77 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 370 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 13 percent (49) of the hexagons, probable in 43 percent (158), and possible in 44 percent (163) (see map). Pearly-eyed Thrasher distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.

Pearly-eyed Thrasher Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Pearly-eyed Thrasher builds a bulky nest made of twigs, sticks, dried grasses, and roots (Arendt 2006, Biaggi 1997, Raffaele and others 1998). The 229Pearly-eyed Thrasher/Zorzal Pardothrasher is a predator of eggs and nestlings of many small bird species. It is known to compete with Puerto Rican Parrots for nest cavities and will destroy parrot eggs and kill parrot nestlings (Snyder and others 1987). Previously published reports indicate that it breeds from December to September, and the nests are usually constructed in a cavity, though occasionally open nests are placed in a bush or tree (Arendt 2004, Raffaele and others 1998), as well as on or in buildings (Snyder and others 1987). However, on Mona Island, nests have been found inside caves and in deep crevices on the cliffs (Barnés 1946). Atlas results show that this species breeding season extends throughout the year with the most breeding activity from March to June (see chart). The breeding activity peaks in June, and the overall breeding pattern mostly takes place within the subtropical moist forest life zone (see chart). Atlas results show that this species breeds mostly within the subtropical moist forest life zone (59 percent of the hexagons) throughout the island. It also breeds in the subtropical dry (20 percent of the hexagons) and subtropical wet and lower montane wet forest life zones (21 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


The global population size of the Pearly-eyed Thrasher has not been quantified or assessed, but it is described as common (Stotz and others 1996). This species is currently listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2016). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Pearly-eyed Thrasher has a protected habitat in land of 12 percent or 1041 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (8824 km2).