Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottus) 10" long

Northern Mockingbird, USFWS photo by Ryan Hagerty

Sounds a little odd, the Northern Mockingbird in southern Arizona, but this bird is indeed found most often in the southern U.S. Most mockingbirds are natives of South America and the Caribbean. Thus our representative is "northern" in comparison with the others.

Northern Mockingbird, USFWS photo by Gary Kramer

The mockingbird is famous for its singing which is often punctuated by a leap in the air that reveals the white patches on its wings. It eats mostly insects and berries, consuming large quantities of beetles, grasshoppers, ants, and wasps in the spring and summer. In winter it relies on berries and wild fruits. Nests are built in dense shrubs, with the male building the foundation and the female providing the soft lining. Both parents feed the nestlings and are aggressive in protecting their territory from other birds, cats, dogs and even people. Mockingbirds in Arizona may migrate a little way south in the winter or stay year-round in their summer range.

Photo credits: US Fish and Wildlife Service photos by Ryan Hagerty and Gary Karmer. You can download these and many other interesting animal photos at http://images.fws.gov/

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