Mockingbird

MockingbirdMockingbirdMockingbirds are a group of New World passerine birds from the Mimidae family. They are best known for the habit of some species mimicking the songs of other birds and the sounds of insects and amphibians, often loudly and in rapid succession.

Mockingbirds also have a reputation of being fierce defenders of their nests. Both male and female mockingbirds will attack or feign diving attacks on both domestic and wild felines, canines, crows and other birds, even hawks, as well as humans who venture too close to their nest. They will even cooperate in groups to do so at times. Other defensive tactics involve aggressive vocalizations and adults acting wounded on the ground as a lure to draw predators away from the nest site.

Most species are tropical, but the Northern Mockingbird breeds throughout the United States and Canada, including the northern Caribbean area.

There are about 17 species in three genera. These do not appear to form a monophyletic lineage: Mimus and Nesomimus are quite closely related; their closest living relatives appear to be some thrashers, such as the Sage Thrasher. Melanotis is more distinct; it seems to represent a very ancient basal lineage of Mimidae.

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