Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird is a species of mockingbird found predominantly in the United States as well as in Canada, northern Mexico, the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and the Greater Antilles. It is known for the loud, imitating sound it creates and was first described by Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus.

Northern Mockingbird Scientific Classification

Animalia
Chordata
Aves
Passeriformes
Mimidae
Mimus
Mimus polyglottos

Table Of Content

Scientific Classification

Northern Mockingbird

Animalia
Chordata
Aves
Passeriformes
Mimidae
Mimus
Mimus polyglottos

Picture of Nothern Mockingbird


Picture 1 – Nothern Mockingbird
Source – birdsofoklahoma.net

Facts

Northern Mockingbirds have a slender body. They have a small head, a long and thin bill with a slight curve, a long tail and long legs. The wings of the Northern Mockingbird are short, rounded and broad that makes the tail seem longer while in flight. They are generally gray or gray brown in color and mostly un-streaked. However, the lower part of the body may have spots. The wings of a Northern Mockingbird have a white patch. These patches become larger during flight. The color of the tail also becomes brighter during flight. The eyes are dark in color and have a faint black line throughout its length.

Behavior

Among the many species of birds that are fond of imitating other birds, the Northern Mockingbird is the most famous. Apart from imitating other birds, Northern Mockingbirds like to imitate the calls of other animals as well as mechanical sounds like car alarms. These imitative calls might be able to fool humans but other birds can easily recognize them to be Northern Mockingbird’s calls. Their calls primarily act as a devise to attract mates. They imitate a particular kind of sound and keep on repeating it several times before they make another new sound. This makes the sound of some imitations of Northern Mockingbird more soothing to the human ear than others. For example, the imitative sound made by copying a Carolina Wren sounds much better than the sounds of copying a Song Sparrow.

Northern Mockingbirds are one of the loudest bird species. One of the predominant behaviors of Northern Mockingbird is that they like to be constantly vocal for most of the time and can often be found singing at night or during the full moon. Their songs are loudest during the dawn and early morning. Apart from the late-summer months, Northern Mockingbirds sing mostly round the year. Individual male birds can sing anywhere between 50 to 200 songs. Female birds can be heard singing more rarely than the male birds.

Northern Mockingbirds also use a number of different types of calls in order to communicate different types of specific information which like their songs are also very loud. They make a raspy and harsh sound while they are chasing other birds away from their territory and make a similar noise while defending against a falcon or a hawk.

Habits

Among the many species of birds that are fond of imitating other birds, the Northern Mockingbird is the most famous. Apart from imitating other birds, Northern Mockingbirds like to imitate the calls of other animals as well as mechanical sounds like car alarms. These imitative calls might be able to fool humans but other birds can easily recognize them to be Northern Mockingbird’s calls. Their calls primarily act as a devise to attract mates. They imitate a particular kind of sound and keep on repeating it several times before they make another new sound. This makes the sound of some imitations of Northern Mockingbird more soothing to the human ear than others. For example, the imitative sound made by copying a Carolina Wren sounds much better than the sounds of copying a Song Sparrow.

Northern Mockingbirds are one of the loudest bird species. One of the predominant behaviors of Northern Mockingbird is that they like to be constantly vocal for most of the time and can often be found singing at night or during the full moon. Their songs are loudest during the dawn and early morning. Apart from the molting season during the late-summer months, Northern Mockingbirds sing mostly round the year. Individual male birds can sing anywhere between 50 to 200 songs. Female birds can be heard singing more rarely than the male birds.

Northern Mockingbirds also use a number of different types of calls in order to communicate different types of specific information which like their songs are also very loud. They make a raspy and harsh sound while they are chasing other birds away from their territory and make a similar noise while defending against a falcon or a hawk.

Image of Nothern Mockingbird
Picture 2 – Northern Mockingbird Picture
Source – birdholidays.co.uk

Sound

The sound of a Northern Mockingbird call is loud with a distinct sharpness. Northern Mockingbird songs are very melodious and consist of a mixture of original and imitative phrases, each of them being repeated several times. They are also brilliant in mimicking other bird calls. Both sexes sing during the fall to claim feeding territories.

Northern Mockingbird food habits: Northern Mockingbird diet consists of fruits and bushes, including mulberries, hawthorns and blackberry brambles and also likes to eat insects like grasshoppers, spiders, beetles, ants and wasps.

Diet

Northern Mockingbird diet consists of fruits and bushes, including mulberries, hawthorns and blackberry brambles and also likes to eat insects like grasshoppers, spiders, beetles, ants and wasps.

Habitat

Northern Mockingbirds generally prefer certain trees over others while making their nests and spending their time and they have a strong affinity for sycamore, maple and sweetgum trees. Mockingbirds do not usually prefer to be around pine trees once leafing of other trees have started. They also have a weakness for lofty and high places as for instance the uppermost branch of a tree.

Northern Mockingbirds can be frequently seen rural and urban areas where they like to sit on streetlights, building tops and telephone poles. As mockingbirds sit and sing on a high place, they frequently jump many feet up in the air in an encircling movement and outstretch their wings showing their lower side and then again sit back comfortably with little effort. This activity is generally thought of to be a courtship ritual intended to attract mates.

Photo of Nothern Mockingbird
Picture 3 – Image of Northern Mockingbird
Source – birdforum.net

Breeding

Both the sexes take an active interest in breeding activities, with the male birds doing most of the work associated with breeding and taking care of the young birds. The mating season for Northern Mockingbirds starts in March. During the period of early February, the Northern Mockingbird males create a nesting territory. Once a female bird enters this nesting territory, the male pursues the female initially with aggressive calls but if the female seems uninterested, the males pursue them with softer calls. The calls of Northern Mockingbird become more soothing once the pairing of the birds is established.

Generally Northern Mockingbirds are monogamous and often the female from the previous season mate with the same male in the next season. Some mockingbirds mate for life; others stay monogamous for a season.

Northern Mockingbirds build their nests around three to ten feet over the ground. Northern Mockingbirds use twigs to create the outer frame of the nest and fill the inner part of the nest with dead leaves, grasses, moss and artificial fibers. Activities of nest building are mostly carried out by the male birds and the female birds sit on a tree or a shrub near the nest and keeps notice for predators.

The eggs laid by Northern Mockingbirds are greenish or light blue in color and are punctuated with dots. The female lays around three to five eggs at a time and then she incubates the eggs for the next two weeks. As the young ones are hatched, they are fed both by the mother and father birds.

Northern Mockingbirds can be quite aggressive in their attempt to protect their nesting area against the animals and birds that they consider to be a threat to their safety. In case they face a persistent predator, Northern Mockingbirds can call loudly for help and other mockingbirds from close vicinity can all come together to attack the hostile predator. This often creates a spectacle for other birds in close proximity. Apart from attacking dogs and cats, it is not unusual for a Northern Mockingbird to attack humans if they feel threatened. They can be quite indomitable and can even attack larger birds such as hawks and falcons.

Mockingbirds are probably best known for the famous Harper Lee novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”. The Northern Mockingbird is the state bird of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.

Migration

Northern Mockingbirds normally tend to stay in one place and not migrate a lot, though birds living in extreme northern territories can migrate southwards during the fall and winter. Yet there are birds who would rather migrate northwards during these seasons, which makes it a bit difficult to understand their migration habits.

Conservation Status

In recent decades, the population of Northern Mockingbird has declined to a certain extent in the southern zone of their range. At the same time, its number has increased in the northern territories. Their population is now increasing in the northern parts due to an abundance of food and shelter. Earlier, these birds were captured and sold as pets but this has stopped after a law was passed by the International Migratory Bird Treaty Act that banned their capture. Nowadays, Northern Mockingbirds are easily spotted in their regular habitat zones.

Nothern Mockingbird Picture
Picture 4 – Northern Mockingbirds Eyes
Source – georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu

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