The Gray Catbird is named for its cat-like mew call. Like the Northern Mockingbird, the Gray Catbird is regarded as a mimic. Like many members of the Mimidae, it also mimics the songs of other birds, as well as those of the tree frog, and even mechanical sounds. Because of its well-developed songbird syrinx (the vocal organ of birds), it is able to make two sounds at the same time. The Gray Catbird’s song is easily distinguished from that of the Northern Mockingbird or Brown Thrasher because the Mockingbird repeats its phrases or 3 to 4 times, the Thrasher usually twice, but the Catbird sings most phrases only once. The Catbird’s song is usually described as more raspy and less musical than that of a Mockingbird.

The following is an audio clip of a Gray Catbird’s song and call. Click the play button.

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Just over half of the Gray Catbird’s diet consists of insects, such as beetles, caterpillars, cicadas, crickets, grasshoppers, moths, ants, aphids and spiders.  The rest of the diet consists of fruit such as wild berries, especially blackberries, berries of sweet gum, grapes and seeds of grasses. We attract this bird to our feeders by offering grape jelly, orange halves and a sprig of grapes fastened to a perch with a clothes pin. Northern Mockingbirds and Orioles will also eat these offerings.

Gray Catbird – Dumetella carolinensis

Click a thumbnail to view photo full sized. Once a photo is open in the shadowbox, navigation arrows are at the bottom to go to the next photo. All photos taken with a Canon 7D camera and Canon 100-400mm f/4 L IS lens.

To end this post, I have included a short video clip of our backyard resident Gray Catbird sitting in a blueberry bush near the cove.

Click the play button to begin the video. To watch in HD,  click 360p on the player to select HD quality. Video taken with a Canon 7D camera.


Happy birding!



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