Dumetella Carolinensis - Gray Catbird | Center Moriches, New York

© Sophie W. Smith

Joined October 2012

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Artist's Description

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Infraorder: Passerida
Superfamily: Muscicapoidea
Family: Mimidae
Genus: Dumetella
C.T. Wood, 1837
Species: D. carolinensis
Binomial name
Dumetella carolinensis
This species is named for its cat-like call. Like many members of the Mimidae (most famously mockingbirds), it also mimics the songs of other birds, as well as those of Hylidae (tree frogs), and even mechanical sounds. Because of its well-developed songbird syrinx, it is able to make two sounds at the same time. The alarm call resembles the quiet calls of a male mallard.
A gray catbird’s song is easily distinguished from that of the northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) or brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) because the mockingbird repeats its phrases or “strophes” 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.
In contrast to the many songbirds that choose a prominent perch from which to sing, the catbird often elects to sing from inside a bush or small tree, where it is obscured from view by the foliage.

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