Monday, 31 October 2011

Grey catbird

Dumetella carolinensis

Photo by Peter Massas (Wikipedia)

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Mimidae

The grey catbird breeds in the United States and southern Canada, east of the Rocky mountains. They migrate south to winter along the Gulf coast from Florida, through Texas, and all the way down Central America and the Caribbean.

These birds are 21-24 cm long and have a wingspan of 22-30 cm. They weigh 35-40 g.

Gray catbirds live in dense thickets of shrubs and vines within woodlands, and are occasionally found in residential areas. They are also found around some forest edges and clearings, along roadsides, fencerows, abandoned farmland and stream sides. On their tropical wintering grounds they are mostly found in forests.

They are omnivorous, consuming spiders and insects like ants, beetles, flies, aphids, caterpillars and moths, as well as the fruits of plants like Myrica, Sassafras, Prunus, Cordea, and Trema.

Grey catbirds breed in April-August. The female builds the nest, a bulky, open cup made of twigs, straw, bark, mud, and sometimes pieces of trash, lined with grass, hair, rootlets, and pine needles. There she lays 1-6 turquoise-coloured eggs, which she incubates alone for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 10-11 days after hatching, but will only become fully independent 12 days later.

IUCN - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 10 million individuals. This species has had stable population trends over the last 40 years and is thus not considered threatened at present.

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