Mockingbird, a bird related to the catbird and thrasher. Its natural song is a series of clear, varied notes, usually repeated several times, but it is named for its ability to imitate the songs of other birds, and even the mewing of cats. The mockingbird often sings at night. There are about 15 species of mockingbirds, most of which are found in tropical climates. The northern mockingbird is found from Nova Scotia south to Florida, in parts of the Midwest, and from Wyoming south to Mexico and the West Indies. Because of its distinct ranges, it is sometimes classified as two subspecies. The northern mockingbird is the state bird of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas.

The mockingbirdThe mockingbird imitates the songs of other birds.

The mockingbird reaches a length of up to 11 inches (28 cm). It is dark gray above and white below, with a white-edged tail and white bars on the wings. The bird feeds chiefly on insects and wild berries, but sometimes eats cultivated fruit. The female lays three to six greenish-blue eggs in a nest of twigs lined with grass. Like the jay, the mockingbird often dives at cats that approach its nest.

Which Songbird Can Imitate a Cardinal?

Throughout the world, there are about 30 different kinds of mockingbirds. These birds are named for their ability to mock, or imitate, the songs of other birds, including cardinals.

A mockingbird does not just mock songbirds, however. It imitates other sounds as well. It can mock a dog barking, a rooster crowing, a piano playing, and even a car honking.

A mockingbird likes to show off its voice. In the spring, the bird may sing all night. It sings many songs and can change them several times a minute. Like the cardinal, the male mockingbird sings to claim its territory and to find a mate.

Mockingbirds, like all other songbirds, are perching birds. They like to rest on branches, chimneys, and even TV antennas.

Mockingbirds belong to the family Mimidae. The northern mockingbird is Mimus polyglottos.