|Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)|
DESCRIPTION: L=10" (25cm). Sexes similar. Overall gray, with dark tail and wings that accentuate the white wing patches and white outer tail feathers so obvious in flight. Song consists of both its own phrases and sounds it imitates (including songs of other birds). Phrases are often repeated back-to-back. This is the bird that sings all night long.
NATURAL HISTORY: Diet mostly invertebrates and berries. They defend their territory very aggressively, even against humans. Often seen flicking their wings out while feeding on the ground to flush their invertebrate prey. Why mockingbirds copy other sounds is not known for sure, but there is a correlation between the size of the male's song repertoire and how quickly it attracts a mate (perhaps larger song repertoires indicate older age, and females want their offspring to have those characteristics that allowed the male to reach older age).