Did you know that a Gray Catbird's song can last for up to 10 minutes? These cute creatures are commonly seen in North America and are beloved by bird lovers. In this blog, we'll explore the stories and behaviors of the Gray Catbird. Join us as we discover the world of this charming bird.

Basic Info

Scientific Name: Dumetella carolinensis
Lifespan: 2.5 years
Size: 8.3–9.4 in
Weight: 0.8–2.0 oz
Wingspan: 8.7–11.8 in

Appearance of Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) is in the Mimidae family. These songbirds with long, rounded, black tails and a straight bill have fairly long legs and broad wings. The top of their head are darker and their undertail coverts are rust-colored. It is usually hard to distinguish male Gray Catbirds from females by their looks.

However, male and female Gray Catbirds behave differently, which is the only clue to distinguish them. You will find male Gray Catbirds singing from perches and chasing intruders during spring and summer. Both males and females defend their territories during the winter, but only males are territorial in spring and summer. During nesting, females build the nests, with males sometimes supplying materials.

Habitats of Gray Catbird

Gray Catbirds live in dense shrubs, vine tangles, and thickets of trees. They can be seen in human developments such as roadsides, abandoned farms, fencerows, and neighborhoods in North America. Gray Catbirds reside along the Atlantic Coast and migrate to the Gulf Coast during the winter, from Florida to Texas, and then down to Central America and the Caribbean Sea. When Gray Catbirds are engaged in altercations, they usually fluff up their breast, spread their tail, and open their bill toward the sky. It is interesting that Gray Catbirds sometimes destroy the eggs and nestlings of other woodland birds.

Nestling and Breeding of Gray Catbird

When it comes to nesting, Gray Catbirds have a clutch size of 1 to 6 eggs. Each egg is about 1 inch in length and 0.5 inch in width. These tiny eggs are turquoise green, sometimes with small red spots. After an incubation period of 12-15 days, Gray Catbirds usually end up with 2-3 broods in their nests.

Food and Birdfeeder Tips

Gray Catbirds eat insects and fruit. In summer, they eat mainly ants, beetles, grasshoppers, midges, caterpillars, and moths. But they also love holly berries, blackberries, cherries, bay, and elderberries. Sometimes, they could damage or eat the strawberries and grapes in your backyard. Leaving mealworms and fruit in your birdfeeder might be a good idea to attract them. Planting fruit-bearing trees and shrubs could also increase the chance of their visit.

July 02, 2024 — James Huang

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