Northern Mockingbird

Mimus polyglottos

Peter May

The Northern Mockingbird is a bird you will commonly see in your yard. It grows up to 11 inches long (robin-sized) and is gray with white markings on its wings and tail.

Mockingbirds live in parks, yards, forest edges, thickets, and farmland.

Mockingbirds mate in the Spring and build nests in shrubs and low trees. A pair of mockinbirds often has more than one nest at a time. The male will watch over fledglings (older young with feathers) while the female sits on a new batch of eggs. Females lay three to five blue-green eggs for each batch. They also have brown spots on them and are about an inch long. Eggs hatch in less than two weeks.

Bill Snodgrass

Peter LaTourrette

Both parent mockingbirds are very territorial when they are nesting. They will defend their nests from any animals they think are predators. This includes people. If you get too close to a nest, even in your own yard, they may "dive-bomb" you. Don't worry, they have never been known to hurt anyone, but it is probably very stressful for the bird.

Mockinbird nests are built with sticks, weed stems, grasses, moss, hair, rootlets, dry leaves, and trash.

Northern Mockingbirds eat a wide variety of foods, including: beetles, ants, bees, wasps, grasshoppers, earthworms, small lizards, butterflies, caterpillars, spiders, true bugs, blackberries, cherries, Elderberry, Greenbrier, grapes, sumac, blueberries, Pokeweed, Sassafras, Virginia Creeper, American Holly, Spicebush, and Flowering Dogwood.

Mockingbirds help many plants by dispersing seeds. After they eat fruit from the plant, they poop the seeds out so they can grow in a new place.

Predators of mockingbirds include snakes, owls, and hawks.

Mockingbirds are well known for their singing, especially the males. They mimic many other birds (perhaps more than 200), dogs, cats, humans, and mechanical sounds. They can even pick up sounds being mimicked by other mockingbirds!

Northern Mockinbirds sometimes sing through the night, especially when there is a full moon.

Isidor Jeklin

Dr. Lloyd Glen Ingles, California Academy of Sciences

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Northern Mockingbird Call
Sound
Greg Gough
Northern Mockingbird Song
Sound
Copyright, Jim Stasz Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
Northern Mockingbird Coloring Page
Link to Printable Page
EnchantedLearning.com

Relationships in Nature:

PREY/FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Earthworm

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Highbush Blueberry

Pokeweed D

Cabbage White

Red-tailed Hawk

American Holly

Spicebush D

Common Black Ground Beetle

Barred Owl

Spicebush

Sassafras D

Chinese Mantid

Black Rat Snake

Flowering Dogwood

Virginia Creeper D

Cicada Killer

Sassafras

Smooth Sumac D

Black Carpenter Ant

Smooth Sumac

Common Elderberry D

Clouded Sulphur

Common Elderberry

Greenbrier D

Eastern Yellow Jacket

Witch Hazel

Flowering Dogwood D

Pokeweed

Red Maple

American Holly D

Spicebush

Black Willow

Sassafras

Green Hawthorn

Virginia Creeper

Eastern Redcedar

Smooth Sumac

White Cushion Moss

Common Elderberry

Switchgrass

Greenbrier

Queen Anne's Lace

Differential Grasshopper

English Plantain

Five-lined Skink

Red Clover

Flowering Dogwood

Smooth Crabgrass

American Holly

Wild Grape

Dogwood Borer

Virginia Rose

Relationship to Humans:

Northern Mockingbirds are valued by people for the beautiful songs they sing, their own and others. Sometimes they can be a nuisance by singing loudly at night. Mockingbirds are also helpful as insect controllers and by spreading seeds of plants.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Chordate
CLASS
Bird
ORDER
Passeriformes
FAMILY
Mimidae
GENUS
Mimus
SPECIES
Mimus polyglottos

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