Catbird

CatbirdCatbird — Several perching birds in unrelated families are called “catbirds” because of their calls.

Catbirds proper in the bowerbird family (Ptilonorhynchidae).

The catbirds are a group of passerine birds in the family Mimidae which also includes mockingbirds and thrashers. These birds produce a wide variety of sounds including cat-like barks. They are generally found in brushy habitats. Catbird is the common name for birds that belong to several Old and New World families and have mewing calls.

The Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) is a medium-sized northern American perching bird of the mimid family. It is the only member of New World catbird genus Dumetella. Like the Black Catbird, it is among the basal lineages of the Mimidae.

Adults are dark gray with a slim, black bill and dark eyes. They have a long dark tail, dark legs and a dark cap; they are rust-colored underneath their tail.

A Gray Catbird’s song is easily distinguished from that of the Northern Mockingbird or Brown Thrasher because the mockingbird repeats phrases 3-4 times, and the brown thrasher usually repeats each phrase twice, whereas the catbird sings each phrase only once. The catbird’s song is usually described as more raspy and less musical than a mockingbird.

Their breeding habitat is semi-open areas with dense, low growth across most of North America. They are found in urban, suburban, and rural habitats; in the winter quarters they actually seem to associate with humans more. They build a bulky cup nest in a shrub or tree, close to the ground. Eggs are light blue in color, and clutch size ranges from 1-5, with 2-3 eggs most common. Both parents take turns feeding the young birds.

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