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One of many thrashers found in the Sonoran Desert, the crissal is distinctive with its sharply curved beak. Otherwise, it is a low-key bird with pale grey coloration. Birds are rarely seen flying; instead, they spend most of their time foraging on the ground, using the large beak to dig and "thrash" around in the soil surface. Thrashers eat insects, but will also take berries and small seeds when available. Mated pairs remain together for years, building cup-shaped nests in dense vegetation. They have one clutch per year, and unlike many other birds are quick to notice eggs from cowbirds in their nests.