A Veery is a medium-sized thrush with a reddish-brown back and wings and a buff-colored chest with reddish spots. It has pink legs and a thin bill. Males and females are similar in appearance.
A Veery measures 6.5-7.5 inches (16.5-19 cm) long and weighs 1-1.9 oz (28-54 g).
- Veerys and other thrushes have coloration that helps them to camouflage in the forests in which they live.
A Veery forages for food on the ground by using its bill to turn over leaves. During the breeding season, it eats insects and other small invertebrates such as spiders and worms. Its diet changes to fruit in the fall. At Cosley Zoo, the Veery eats a songbird diet composed of a processed insectivore (insect-eater) food, chopped fruits and vegetables, mealworms, and sunflower seeds.
Veerys usually build their nests on the ground. The nests are cup-shaped and are made from leaves, bark, and stems. The male chooses the nesting site and attracts females with his song. The female builds the nest and lays 3-5 eggs per clutch (group of eggs). The eggs are green or pale blue in color. The female incubates the eggs for 10-14 days until they hatch. The young birds fledge (leave the nest) about 14 days after hatching.
Shelter and Space Needs
Veerys live in forested areas. These birds are migratory. They spend the winters in central and southern Brazil, and their breeding grounds are southern Canada and the northern United States. Northeastern Illinois is in the southernmost portion of this bird’s breeding grounds.
The oldest known Veery found in the wild was 10 years old.
Importance to Man
The Veery has a distinct, beautiful song that is enjoyed by birdwatchers. Because this species is so well-camouflaged and is often found on the ground rather than in trees, birdwatchers may hear this bird but never see it.
- Veerys migrate at night, and keep together in the dark by calling to each other during flight. During migration, a Veery can fly up to 160 miles in one night!
- Male and female Veerys may sing a duet together as part of the courtship ritual.