Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Desert Birds >>> Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

Mimus polyglottos

 
Photo © by Michael Plagens

Photo taken in Gilbert, Arizona, USA. Feb 2009. It is foraging for bright red berries of Fremont Thorn Bush (Lycium fremontii).

One of the most familiar birds in the cities of the Arizona-Sonoran Desert. They sustain themselves by hunting for insects and spiders in lawns. They are also highly frugivorous, i.e. they eat a wide variety of fruits; berries of lantana and pyracantha are mainstays. Males and females have similar plumage: nearly uniform gray except for long dark tail and white patch in open wing. Males are the singers that often practice all night long on a concatenation of bird songs borrowed from a variety of other bird species.

Northern Mockingbird can be found in the Sonoran Desert far from human habitation especially when there is an abundance of berries. Three plants in particular produce fruit attractive to mocking birds: Desert Mistletoe, Fremont Thornbush, and Desert Hackberry. They are fairly common in riparian habitats as well as temperate zones across North America.

Year-round Resident - seasonal movement between cities and desert

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009