The underside of the tail tends to have some slight chestnut-coloring. Description: This is a plain gray, medium-sized songbird with a black cap, a long, black tail that is often cocked, and chestnut colored undertail coverts. His original name Muscicapa carolinensis reflected the belief, widespread at that time, that the gray catbird was some sort of Old World flycatcher (presumably due to its remarkably plain coloration, not similar to other mimids). The undertail coverts are rust-colored, and the remiges and rectrices are black, some with white borders. The call is a very cat-like mew. [14], Their breeding habitat is semi-open areas with dense, low growth; they are also found in urban, suburban, and rural habitats. Gray catbirds belong to the ‘Dumetella’ genus, which means “small thicket”, which is where this bird can be found hiding. Why Are the Leaves on My Indoor Plant Yellow? The Sibley Guide to Birds. It may start singing before dawn and continue until after dusk, being one of the last birds to settle in for the night. [6], The species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1766 edition of Systema naturae. Bendire's thrasher. Occasionally feeds on suet. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach. In winter it is found along the East Coast and around the Gulf of Mexico into Central America and the Caribbean. It is not considered threatened by the IUCN due to its large range and numbers.[1][9]. California thrasher. Like the black catbird (Melanoptila glabrirostris), it is among the basal lineages of the Mimidae, probably a closer relative of the Caribbean thrasher and trembler assemblage than of the mockingbirds and Toxostoma thrashers. Listen to the Gray Catbird’s song and learn where to spot them! [14], The catbird tends to avoid dense, unbroken woodlands, and does not inhabit coniferous, pine woodland. They build a bulky cup nest in a shrub or tree, close to the ground. Bendire's thrasher. Incubation: The female incubates the eggs for about 14 days and is often fed by her mate. The Gray Catbird breeds across southern Canada and in all but the southwestern states. Clutch Size: Usually 3 to 5 eggs with 4 eggs most common in Tennessee. Though mimids were widely considered Turdidae until the 1850s, this was not any more correct than treating them as Old World flycatchers, as these three families are distinct lineages of the superfamily Muscicapoidea. Voice: Alarm call is a catlike mewing; song is a mix of notes, may mimic other songbirds. A. They also eat holly berries, cherries, elderberries, poison ivy, bay, and blackberries. Vieillot, differing from the earlier authors, believed the bird to be a true thrush (Turdus).[5][9]. The Gray Catbird's song is an exuberant series of musical whistles and catlike meows interspersed with imitations of other birds' songs. Hermit thrush. The undertail coverts are rust-colored, and the Catbirds prefer a dense vegetative substrate, especially if thorny vegetation is present. Wood in 1837. Range maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms. The nests of this species often have the eggs of Brown-headed cowbirds laid in them. Numbers have declined significantly since 1980 in Tennessee. This bird is mostly slate gray in color with a distinctive black cap and black tail. A gray catbird's song is easily distinguished from that of the northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) or brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) because the mockingbird repeats its phrases or "strophes" three to four times, the thrasher usually twice, but the catbird sings most phrases only once. At other times it moves about boldly in the open, jerking its long tail expressively. Wingspan: 11 inches. John Flannery. In the winter months they seem to associate with humans even more. Linda Petersen Linda Petersen Gray Catbird. The sexes are alike. These notes can include imitations of other birds' songs, frogs, or even mechanical sounds. The oldest known Gray Catbird in the wild was 17 years 11 months old. Approximately 50% of the gray catbird's diet is fruit and berries. Females will also sing softly on occasion. Eastern bluebird. Curve-billed thrasher. Curve-billed thrasher. Once you’ve heard its catty mew you won’t forget it. [15] During the winter season, the catbird has an affinity for berry-rich thickets, especially within proximity of water sources.