Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)

Northern Mockingbird


The northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is a mockingbird commonly found in North America. This bird is mainly a permanent resident, but northern birds may move south during harsh weather. This species has rarely been observed in Europe. This species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae as Turdus polyglottos. The northern mockingbird is known for its mimicking ability, as reflected by the meaning of its scientific name, "many-tongued thrush". The northern mockingbird has gray to brown upper feathers and a paler belly. Its tail and wings have white patches which are visible in flight. .mw-parser-output .tmulti .thumbinner{display:flex;flex-direction:column}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .trow{display:flex;flex-direction:row;clear:left;flex-wrap:wrap;width:100_;box-sizing:border-box}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .tsingle{margin:1px;float:left}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .theader{clear:both;font-weight:bold;text-align:center;align-self:center;background-color:transparent;width:100_}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .thumbcaption{background-color:transparent}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .text-align-left{text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .text-align-right{text-align:right}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .text-align-center{text-align:center}@media all and (max-width:720px){.mw-parser-output .tmulti .thumbinner{width:100_!important;box-sizing:border-box;max-width:none!important;align-items:center}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .trow{justify-content:center}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .tsingle{float:none!important;max-width:100_!important;box-sizing:border-box;text-align:center}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .tsingle .thumbcaption{text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .trow>.thumbcaption{text-align:center}}

Distribution And Habitat

The Northern Mockingbird is a common species that occurs mostly from southern Canada to southern Mexico, throughout the United States and the western West Indies (including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands). It is introduced and established in Hawaii and Bermuda (del Hoyo and others 2004). It is a common resident throughout Puerto Rico (Oberle 2018, Raffaele 1989a), Vieques (Gemmill 2015, Saliva 1994, Sorrié 1975, Wetmore 1916), Culebra (Wetmore 1917), and Mona (Terborgh and Faaborg 1973). The species usually inhabits open country with scattered trees or bushes in the lowlands including dry coastal scrub, open mangrove forests, grasslands, farms, gardens, parks, and urban areas, but also ranges into the mountains where suitable habitat is available (Oberle 2018, Raffaele 1989a, Raffaele and others 1998). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 915 records within 406 hexagons or 85 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 406 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 29 percent (117) of the hexagons, probable in 38 percent (153), and possible in 33 percent (136) (see map). Northern Mockingbird distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. 231Northern Mockingbird/Ruiseñor

Northern Mockingbird Distribution

Breeding Habits

The mockingbird builds a nest that is a coarse open cup of twigs, usually placed from 1 to 3 m above the ground in dense shrubbery, tree branches, or vines, often near houses (Raffaele and others 1998). Previously published reports indicate that breeding occurs primarily from January to July (Raffaele and others 1998). Nonetheless, atlas results show that this species breeding season extends throughout the year with the most breeding activity from March to June (see chart). The breeding activity peaks in May, and breeding mostly takes place within the subtropical moist forest life zone (see chart). Results show that this species breeds mostly in lowlands within the subtropical moist forest life zone (61 percent of the hexagons) (see table) and less commonly in the subtropical dry forest life zone of the southern and eastern coastal plains (20 percent of the hexagons) and subtropical wet and lower montane wet forest life zones at higher elevations (19 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


The current population trend for the Northern Mockingbird is described as stable, and it is currently listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2017). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Northern Mockingbird has a protected habitat in land of about 12 percent or 1122 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (9686 km2).