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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Northern Mockingbird -- Mimus polyglottos
(formerly Mockingbird)

RANGE: Resident in scattered localities across southernmost Canada from Alberta to Newfoundland; generally resident from northern California, northern Utah, and southern North Dakota, east to southern Maine and south into Mexico. Some northern birds move southward in winter.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Inhabits a variety of open to partly open landscapes such as farm hedges, isolated shrub patches and trees of the prairie, orchards, woodland edges, pastures with scattered fruit-bearing shrubs, and suburbs and cities; absent from forest interiors.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Low, dense, woody vegetation, elevated perches, and a variety of persistent edible fruits.

NEST: Builds nest in a fork or on a limb of a small tree, shrub, or vine (preferably evergreen), typically 3 to 10 feet above the ground. Usually produces two broods each year; builds a new nest for each brood.

FOOD: Gleans insects from the ground and foliage, or hawks from the air. Eats fruits in fall and winter.

REFERENCES: DeGraff et al. 1980, Forbush and May 1955, Laskey 1962, Terres 1980, Verner and Boss 1980.

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