Northern Mockingbird 

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Mimus Polyglottos 

Northern Mockingbird

Adults are overall gray-brown, paler on the breast and belly, with two white wingbars on each wing. Upperparts are pale gray, underparts are whitish.

The tail is long with white outer feathers, and black central tail feathers. They have a white patch in each wing that is often visible when perched, and the white outer tail feathers are also flashy in flight.

They have thin and dark eyeline and yellow to orange eyes. The legs are long and dusky.

Both sexes look alike.

Juveniles resemble the adults, but are browner above and have large pale brown spots on underparts, from throat to upper belly and flanks.

BILL: thin and black, with a brown base.

SIZE: medium-sized songbird, measuring about 8.3 - 10.2 inches in length, with a wingspan of 12.2 - 2 inches.

WEIGHT: weighs about 45 - 58 grams.

COLOR: gray, gray-brown, white and black.

Fruits, berries, spiders and insects (beetles, ants, bees, wasps, and grasshoppers), also earthworms and small lizards.

Mixed habitats with open ground and dense thickets and shrubs, including fencerows, riparian areas, residential areas, and roadsides.

A resident from southern Canada, southwards to southern Mexico and the Caribbean.

It is introduced in Bermuda and Hawaii, and breeds from northern California, eastern Nebraska, Southern Ontario and Atlantic Canada southward to southern Mexico.

CALL: A loud “tchak” and a harsh, dry “chew”.

SONG: Highly varied, often melodious sting of phrases, many imitative of other birds that are typically repeated three or more times each.

NEST: The nest is an open cup, made of dead twigs and the interior is lined with grasses, dead leaves and paper, foil, plastics and even shredded cigarettes filters.

It is built low to the ground, in shrubs and trees, between 1 and 3 meters high, mostly by the male.

EGGS: 2 - 3 smooth, greenish-blue eggs, heavily marked with brown spots.

INCUBATION: 12 - 13 days, female.

NESTLING PHASE: 12 - 13 days.

They are highly territorial and may attack any intruder. They are very aggressive and chase off other birds and mammals. Much of their foraging is done by walking on the ground.

They will also observe from a perch and fly out to capture insects spotted on the ground or in vegetation below.

The oldest Northern Mockingbird on record was at least 14 years, 10 months old.

The Northern Mockingbird is nicknamed “American Nightingale”, for its long and complex, but melodious song. It can mimic many other birds (more than 200) and dogs, cats, humans and mechanical sounds.


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