Mockingbirds and Thrashers

Thrashers and Mockingbirds are in the family Mimidae. The name Mimidae comes from their ability to remember many different sounds and their ability to mimic and replicate many other birds' songs and other sounds.
Northern Mockingbird at Schoolhouse Ridge North.
Northern Mockingbird at Schoolhouse Ridge North.
© Bill Telfair

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)

• A male Northern Mockingbird can learn around 200 different songs throughout its life.
• Northern Mockingbirds sing all day and sometimes into the night. Most of the night singers are males that don’t have mates (they also sing more during the day too). Their nighttime serenades are more common during the full moon.
• Mockingbirds love to eat insects during the summer but eat mostly fruit during the fall and winter months.
• The Northern Mockingbird does a behavior where it gives a wing flash display where it opens its wings in jerky steps showing off the big white patches underneath. No one is sure why they do this but they think it may be to startle insects and make them easier to catch.

Identification Information

• Size: Robin sized (Small/Medium)
• Color: Northern Mockingbirds are gray-brown with paler shades of those colors on the breast and belly. Patches of white are often visible when the bird is perching but these patches look much larger when the bird is in flight.
All of the above information is an abbreviated version of information gathered from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Please visit their website for more in-depth bird information.

Last updated: September 16, 2019

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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
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