Gray Catbird

(Dumetella carolinensis)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

Gray Catbird

NatureServe

N5B, N5N - Secure Breeding and Nonbreeding

SNRB - Unranked Breeding

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common migrant and breeder

Habitat

Dense, deciduous, woodland thickets, forest edges

Size

8½ to 9in length

11 wingspan

    Photo by Ramona Abrego
 
Identification

This is a chunky, medium-sized, perching bird. They are present in Minnesota from May through mid-October. They winter in the southeastern United States, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. The oldest recorded lifespan is of a bird in captivity is 17 years and 10 months.

Adults are 8¼ to 9½ long, weigh .8 ounce to 2 ounces, and have a wingspan of 8¾ to 12.

The wings, back, chest, and belly are slate gray. The bird often displays a raised tail when perched. The tail feathers are slate gray or dark gray above, black with pale edges below. The undertail coverts are chestnut brown. The legs and feet are black.

The head is slate gray with a black crown and forehead. The bill is short, slender, and black. The eyes are black.

Males and females are alike in size and appearance. They can be distinguished only by behavior in Breeding season.

 
Voice

Descending, cat-like mew, not repeated.

 
Similar
Species

Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) has a white forehead, cheek, and throat. It does not have a black crown or chestnut undertail coverts.

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) has a pale throat, chest, and belly. The wings are dark with two white wing bars. It does not have a black crown, black forehead, or chestnut undertail coverts.

Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi) has buffy wing patches and a white eye ring. It does not have a black crown, black forehead, or chestnut undertail coverts.

 
Food

Fruit, seeds, insects, and other invertebrates.

 
Nesting

Gray Catbirds usually have two broods per season. Breeding begins soon after the adults reach the Breeding territory in April. The female builds a nest, sometimes with the male supplying materials, usually on a horizontal branch near the center of a dense shrub or small tree.

The female lays usually 3 or 4, but as few as 1 or as many as 5, turquoise-colored eggs. The eggs hatch after 12 to 14 days. The young leave the nest after 10 or 11 days.

 
Migration

 

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Passeriformes (perching birds)

 

Family:

Mimidae (mockingbirds and thrashers)

 

 

 

 

       
Visitor Photos
   
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Gregory Gilman
       

Catbird

  Gray Catbird    
       
Ramona Abrego
       
  Gray Catbird    
       
       
Margot Avey
       

It was in the marshy area.

  Gray Catbird    
       
Roger
       

Has a nest in my raspberries with blue eggs, next day chicks

  Gray Catbird    
       
Lynn Rubey
       

A Gray Catbird foraging on the ground in The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge, a rather secretive bird that the Chippewa Indians named "the bird that cries with grief" due to its raspy call. It will only nest in thick shrubs.

  Gray Catbird    
       
Bill Reynolds
       
  Gray Catbird    
       
Tom Baker
       
  Gray Catbird   Gray Catbird
       
  Gray Catbird    
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   
  Gray Catbird    
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Gray Catbird
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
 
  Gray Catbird  
     
  Gray Catbird
JMC Nature Photos
 
  Gray Catbird  
     
  Gray Catbirds
jt893x
 
  Gray Catbirds  
     
  Gray Catbird
Craig A. Mullenbach
 
  Gray Catbird  

 

slideshow

       
Visitor Videos
   
Share your video of this bird.
 

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Other Videos
 
  Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) mating song
robiss88
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on May 19, 2011

Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) mating song in rose bush... 5-18-11...no video of bird, sorry...I had to hide the camera in the bush, & wait for the male to return.

   
       
  The Gray Catbird (Mimidae: Dumetella carolinensis)
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Dec 28, 2009

A brief but contemplative look at the Gray Catbird, which is an often heard but seldom seen avian species found in deciduous and riparian habitats throughout the upper midwest of the United States. Specimens shown here were photographed in North Dakota.

   
       
  Gray Catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis)
TheChannelOfAnimals
 
   
 
About

Published on May 14, 2013

In this video, two gray catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis) are shown hopping around branches in a small ravine. This video was recorded on May 11, 2013 in Guilford, Connecticut.

   
       
  Gray Catbird Mewing - June 25, 2013
Don Gagnon
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 27, 2013

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) Mewing, Yellow Trail, Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge, Seapowet Avenue, Tiverton, Rhode Island, Tuesday afternoon, June 25, 2013, 5:14 PM - Canon PowerShot SX50 HS MVI_23490; 2:54 min.

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   
Report a sighting of this bird.
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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.

Gregory Gilman
5/30/2020

Location: Rochester, MN

Catbird

Gray Catbird


Ramona Abrego

Location: Washington County

Gray Catbird


Margot Avey
7/30/2019

Location: Westwood Nature Center in St. Louis Park MN

It was in the marshy area.

Gray Catbird


Roger
7/12/2019

Location: Maplewood MN

Has a nest in my raspberries with blue eggs, next day chicks

Gray Catbird


kjtitan16
7/5/2019

Location: North Branch

Quite vocal, constantly calling from around our campsite


Gavia Immer
5/27/2019

Location: eDuluth, MN; Hunter's Park Neighborhood

at suet feeder; potentially nesting in White Cedar Grove


Lynn Rubey
5/23/2019

Location: Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge

A Gray Catbird foraging on the ground in The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge, a rather secretive bird that the Chippewa Indians named "the bird that cries with grief" due to its raspy call. It will only nest in thick shrubs.

Gray Catbird


April
6/14/2018

Location: eden prairie


Tom Baker
8/18/2012

Location: Purgatory Creek Park

Gray Catbird


Tom Baker
6/25/2012

Location: Purgatory Creek Park

Gray Catbird


Bill Reynolds
6/29/2013

Location: Pennington Co.

Gray Catbird


     
     
 
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