Northern Mockingbird

close up of a mockingbird
Northern mockingbird

NPS Photo

Mimus polyglottos

Northern mockingbirds are found throughout Mexico and the southern half of the United States, with an extension of their range into the northeast.

They live off of small invertebrates (such as spiders and insects), fruits, and berries. They have also been known to catch small lizards and crayfish. Mockingbirds forage by running across open ground to search for insects or by perching on low branches to search for insects on the ground below.

Male mockingbirds will sing to defend their territories and to attract females. Males will also leap into the air and flap their wings while singing to further impress females. When choosing mates, males and females will chase each other around the male’s territory. Once mockingbirds have chosen a mate, both birds will build a nest in dense shrubs or trees between three and ten feet off the ground. Males will build the foundation of the nest while females will put together the lining. The female incubates the eggs but both parents will help feed newly hatched chicks. Chicks will leave the nest about 12 days after hatching. Mockingbirds will raise two to three clutches of eggs per year.

Kaufman, K. (2001). Lives of North American Birds. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Last updated: May 2, 2021

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