Northen MockingbirdNorthern Mockingbird
Mimus polyglottos 

click here to hear it

Medium sized slender bird with long tail, slender bill; gray back, head and front; blackish wings with white patches; black tail with white borders. Distinctive call is a long, highly varied sequence of phrases, often imitative of other birds and sounds.

The Northern Mockingbird is the most widely-known songbird in America. Not only can it perform 39 species' songs and 50 call notes, but it also can mimic sounds such as that of a barking dog, squeaky hinges, notes from a piano and even a cackling hen, so expertly that even an electronic analysis could not tell the difference between the mockingbird and the original. 

Mockingbird nests can be found one to 50 feet above the ground in the fork of a tree or on the branch of a bush. The bulky cup is built by both sexes with items such as twigs, dry leaves, stems, cotton, paper, grass and other handy materials. Like many other songbirds, mockingbirds feed on fruits and insects.

Though territorial all year around, during the nesting season which falls between March and August, mockingbirds are especially aggressive. They regularly may attack starlings and jays and even cats if they feel threatened. The female is the sole incubator of the three to six blue or green eggs that are blotched with brown. They hatch after an incubation period of 11 to 14 days and are then tended by both parents, although they are brooded only by the female. Thereafter, the young will leave the nest once they are 10 to 12 days old.

links:  USGS,   Cornell

back to birds             next bird