Wood) used L.J.P. In winter it is found along the East Coast and around the Gulf of Mexico into Central America and the Caribbean. Gray-cheeked thrush. [11] Gray catbirds are plain lead gray almost all over. Though mimids were widely considered Turdidae until the 1850s, this was not any more correct than treating them as Old World flycatchers, as these three families are distinct lineages of the superfamily Muscicapoidea. This bird is mostly slate gray in color with a distinctive black cap and black tail. The Sibley Guide to Birds. Wingspan: 11 inches. The gray catbird can be attracted by "pishing" sounds. Description: This is a plain gray, medium-sized songbird with a black cap, a long, black tail that is often cocked, and chestnut colored undertail coverts. Range maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms. The sexes are alike. The Gray Catbird's song is an exuberant series of musical whistles and catlike meows interspersed with imitations of other birds' songs. A. Knopf, New York, NY. The top of the head is darker. [6], The species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1766 edition of Systema naturae. Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 8.4 to 9.8 cm (3.3 to 3.9 in), the tail is 7.2 to 10.3 cm (2.8 to 4.1 in), the culmen is 1.5 to 1.8 cm (0.6 to 0.7 in) and the tarsus is 2.7 to 2.9 cm (1.1 to 1.1 in). Diet: Insects and berries. American robin. The alarm call resembles the quiet calls of a male mallard. The gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), also spelled grey catbird, is a medium-sized North American and Central American perching bird of the mimid family. Tennessee Press, Knoxville. Rather plain but with lots of personality, the Gray Catbird often hides in the shrubbery, making an odd variety of musical and harsh sounds -- including the catlike mewing responsible for its name. Both parents take turns feeding the young birds. Like its relatives, the Gray Catbird mimics a variety of sounds, but this bird is best known for the cat-like mewing calls that give the species its common name. The nests of this species often have the eggs of Brown-headed cowbirds laid in them. Adults may leave their territory to feed with other catbirds in undefended areas. [7], The genus name has a convoluted nomenclatorial history. [14], The catbird tends to avoid dense, unbroken woodlands, and does not inhabit coniferous, pine woodland. 1995. His original name Muscicapa carolinensis reflected the belief, widespread at that time, that the gray catbird was some sort of Old World flycatcher (presumably due to its remarkably plain coloration, not similar to other mimids). The Gray Catbird's song is an exuberant series of musical whistles and catlike meows interspersed with imitations of other birds' songs. A gray catbird's song is easily distinguished from that of the northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) or brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) because the mockingbird repeats its phrases or "strophes" three to four times, the thrasher usually twice, but the catbird sings most phrases only once. Habitat: Dense thickets. [4], The name Dumetella is based upon the Latin term dūmus ("thorny thicket";[5] it thus means approximately "small thornbush-dweller" or "small bird of the thornbushes". It refers to the species' habit of singing when hidden in undergrowth. At other times it moves about boldly in the open, jerking its long tail expressively. The Gray Catbird breeds across southern Canada and in all but the southwestern states. This prevents catbirds from raising cowbird young at the expense of their own nestlings. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gray_catbird&oldid=989723049, Extant Late Pleistocene first appearances, Articles needing additional references from June 2017, All articles needing additional references, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 20 November 2020, at 17:21. Occasionally feeds on suet. https://www.birdsandblooms.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/gray_catbird.mp3. Gray catbirds are plain lead gray almost all over. They build a bulky cup nest in a shrub or tree, close to the ground. Status in Tennessee: The Gray Catbird is an uncommon to fairly common summer resident across the state and a rare winter resident. Length: 8-1/2 inches. The catbird's song is usually described as more raspy and less musical than that of a mockingbird. The Gray Catbird is a familiar member of the Mimidae (mimic) family, a group of birds that includes noted songsters such as Northern Mockingbird and Sage Thrasher. Crissal thrasher. Peak egg laying occurs in mid-May and extends into early July. Wood misquotes his source—John Latham's 1783 General Synopsis of Birds—as calling the bird "cat thrush", probably because he knew the species under that name from George Shaw's General Zoology. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach. [15] During the winter season, the catbird has an affinity for berry-rich thickets, especially within proximity of water sources. Gray catbird (call / song) call, song. Adults weigh from 23.2 to 56.5 g (0.8 to 2.0 oz), with an average of 35–40 g (1.2–1.4 oz)[9][10] They range in length from 20.5 to 24 cm (8.1 to 9.4 in) and span 22 to 30 cm (8.7 to 11.8 in) across the wings. Most birds arrive in mid- to late April and depart by October. [16] These birds mainly forage on the ground in leaf litter, but also in shrubs and trees. They mainly eat arthropods and berries. The undertail coverts are rust-colored, and the [2][3] In some areas it is known as the slate-colored mockingbird. Like the black catbird (Melanoptila glabrirostris), it is among the basal lineages of the Mimidae, probably a closer relative of the Caribbean thrasher and trembler assemblage than of the mockingbirds and Toxostoma thrashers. The slim bill, the eyes, and the legs and feet are also blackish. If you’re convinced you’ll never be able to learn bird calls, start with the Gray Catbird. Because of its well-developed songbird syrinx, it is able to make two sounds at the same time. His description is somewhat eccentric, and was published under his pseudonym "S.D.W.". Approximately 50% of the gray catbird's diet is fruit and berries. Length: 8-1/2 inches. Scientific Name: Dumetella carolinensis. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. Gray Catbirds are able to sing such complicated songs partly because they have a complicated syrinx (song box) that allows them to sing two notes simultaneously. The male Gray Catbird will sing loudly when announcing or defending his territory and more softly when near the nest or when an intruding catbird is nearby. Eggs are light blue in color, and clutch size ranges from 1–5, with 2–3 eggs most common. A gray catbird's song is easily distinguished from that of the northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) or brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) because the mockingbird repeats its phrases or "strophes" three to four times, the thrasher usually twice, but the catbird sings most phrases only once. Linda Petersen Linda Petersen Gray Catbird. The underside of the tail tends to have some slight chestnut-coloring. [7][12][13] The gray catbird is a migratory species.