Monday, May 2, 2011

Bird a Day: Gray Catbird

Bird a day day two is the Gray Catbird.  This neo-tropical migrant is a common bird around our area, preferring gardens, thickets, and shrubby areas often caused by human disturbance.  They like to nest in these viney areas because of the protection it gives to their nests.  During summer they eat insects like most birds, equally happy plucking grasshoppers off of plants or snagging moths in mid-air.  They belong to the family Mimidae which also includes the Northern Mockingbird and Brown Thrasher.  They share the ability to mimic other birds in their song, but are most known for their mewing call that gives them their name.  

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbirds are of course gray, but what you can't see in this photo is the deep red undertail coverts.  It is a surprising splash of color on an otherwise drab bird.  The only other real field mark is the dark cap extending across the head. 


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