Northern Mockingbird

Scientific Name: Mimus polyglottos

Pictures: (click for larger images)

Northern Mockingbird perched on fence of UCLA Botanical Garden, across the street from Delta Delta Delta Sorority. Photo by Jason Finley, 3/1/05

Northern Mockingbird with a beakful of nesting material it just finished stripping off a nearby palm tree, in the UCLA Botanical Garden. Photo by Jason Finley, April, 2005.
Juvenile Northern Mockingbird, distinguished by darker eye color and being a bit fat!  In the UCLA Botanical Garden. Photo by Jason Finley, 3/8/05
Baby Northern Mockingbird!  Is he grumpy or is that just the way his beak is shaped?  Hiding amongst the cactus in the UCLA Botanical Garden. He called for his mother, who was nearby and came to feed him. Photo by Jason Finley, 5/21/04
Northern Mockingbird doing its "wingy" display! Notice the white on the wings.  Photo by Jason Finley, 5/10/05
A great picture of a Northern Mockingbird in which you can see the conspicuous white on its wings and tails.  Photo by Jay Fahlen, 6/9/05.
A Northern Mockingbird surveys the surroundings near the large hi-tech greenhouse in the UCLA Botanical Garden. Photo by Jason Finley, 9/3/05.
Northern Mockingbird Illustration.

-Illustration by Robert C. Stebbins from "Birds of the Campus" (1947) by Dr. Loye Miller.

Description: Medium. 10" in length (beak to tail), smaller than a pigeon.   About the same size as the mourning dove, but sleeker.  Dark gray back, back of head, back of tail.  Light gray/white chest, belly, undertail, throat.  Wings darker gray.  The DEAD GIVEAWAYS for this bird, though, are the bright flashes of white you'll see on its wings and tail when it flies.

Sound: "Song is a mixture of original and imitative phrases, each repeated several times." (from National Geographic field guide)  They'll imitate other birds and even noises they hear often such as car alarms.  If you hear a bird going through a retinue of different tunes/sounds, you can bet dollars to donuts it's a mockingbird.  Go over and say hello!

Listen to a Northern Mockingbird singing and calling!  Link is to the sound page for this bird from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds.

Commonality/Seasonality: Common year-round.

Location: Can be seen, and HEARD, all around campus.  They really like the desert section of the Botanical Garden, and the Native Fragment.

Notes: A.k.a "Wingy Bird" for the wing display they can be seen to do on the grass, presumably to somehow better get insects.  They are also very defensive of their territory and can be seen chasing off other birds several times larger than them, like Ravens, Cooper's Hawks, and even Red-Tailed Hawks!  You will usually see just one or two at a time.

Historical: Dr.Loye Miller referred to the "Western Mockingird," but we now refer to it as the "Northern Mockingbird."

You may meet the mockingbird at almost any part of the campus except the exact center of the ball field.  Even from there you will perhaps hear him.  A cheerful, perky, versatile bird, everyone should know him.

-Miller, Loye.  "Birds of the Campus, University of California, Los Angeles," from University of California Syllabus Series, No. 300.  Text by Loye Miller, illustrations by Robert C. Stebbins.  Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1947.



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