Q:

What are the characteristics of a mockingbird?

A:

The only mockingbird found in North America is the Northern Mockingbird, a robin-sized bird known for mimicking the songs of other birds. It is gray on top with a white chest and a long tail. Its wings are black and gray with two white bars.

Mockingbirds are very territorial and will often swoop down on people or animals if they get too close to their nests. They have been observed attacking their own reflections in windows or chrome hub cabs, even to the point of injuring themselves. Northern Mockingbirds are found year round throughout the Continental United States and Mexico. During the summer, they mainly feed on insects and worms, but in the fall and winter they switch to fruits and berries.

Mockingbirds are best known for their ability to mimic other birds. They continue to add songs to their repertoire throughout their lives. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a male mockingbird may learn 200 songs in his lifetime. In addition to bird songs, mockingbirds have been heard to mimic frogs, insects and even non-animal noises such as car alarms. In the 19th century, mockingbirds were so popular as pets that they nearly disappeared from parts of the East Coast.


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