|Photo by Richard Bledsoe (Bird Forum)|
California gnatcatcher (en); balança-rabo-da-California (pt); gobemoucheron de Californie (fr); perlita californiana (es); Kalifornienmückenfänger (de)
These birds are only found in the southernmost parts of California, in the United States, and in Baja California, Mexico.
The California gnatcatcher is 10-11 cm long and has a wingspan of 14-15 cm. They weigh 5-6 g.
They typically prefer open sage scrub, namely areas with California sagebrush Artemisia californica.
Their diet consists of small insects and spiders, namely Orthoptera, Araneae, Coleoptera, Homoptera, Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera larvae.
California gnatcatchers build an open nest cup, placed in a scrub less than 70 cm above the ground. The female lays 3-4 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 14 days. Both parents feed the chicks until fledging, which takes place 10-15 days after hatching. Each pair may produce 3-4 clutches per year.
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively restricted breeding range an a population of just 80.000 individuals. Although the population is suspected to be in decline due to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation, the species is not considered threatened at present.