Northern Mockingbird
Mimus Polyglottos
Family Mimidae

A gray, slim songbird, about the size of a Robin, the Northern Mockingbird is aptly named because of their ability to mimic the calls of other species. Also known as the “American Nightingale,” it is a common bird of the suburbs, and is easily recognized by its long, intricate songs.

Identifying Traits (both sexes):

  • Medium-sized
  • Light gray on top, white below
  • Two white wingbars
  • Long tail
  • Thin bill
  • Thin, dark eye-line
  • White outer tail feathers
  • Large white wing patches are conspicuous in flight
  • Juveniles: Often have spotty undersides
  • Size: 23-28 cm (9-11”)
  • Weight: 49 g (1.7 oz)



Similar Species: Shrikes have a darker facial mask. The Sage Thrasher looks like a juvenile mockingbird, but it has a streaked underside, not spotted, and lacks white wing patches seen in flight.

Voice: The Northern Mockingbird is an excellent imitator of many species. Its own song, however, is distinguished by a strict pattern of varied phrases, usually repeated two six times, and then followed by a distinct pause, after which another pattern is begun. Listen for a krrDEE-krrDEE-krrDEE. Its call is a harsh chak, or a hoarse skeech.

Habitat: Northern Mockingbirds can be found in towns, along roadsides, frequenting the open areas near thickets and dense bushes

Range: The Northern Mockingbird can be found throughout the continental United States

Interesting Facts: The Northern Mockingbird can sing over 200 songs, including those of other birds, insect, amphibians, and even mechanical sounds. This unique ability made the mockingbird an incredibly popular caged bird during and by the early 20th century it was nearly extinct in large cities in America. Today it has nearly fully recovered in these areas, and is in fact experiencing range expansion due to human activities, such as the planting of multiflora roses.



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