Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
STATUS: Rare to absent from some former ranges in California, declining in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. (Some decline may result from cowbird parasitism.)
HABITAT: Throughout most its range, inhabits streamside willows. In the arid Southwest, lives along water courses and marshes where mesquite is mixed with cottonwood, saltcedar, elderberry, and desert hackberry. In the Great Plains, generally associated with thickets near streams and rivers, or with second-growth scrub, forest edges, and brush patches.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Dense riparian shrubs.
NEST: Builds a small, basketlike cup nest attached to a forked branch of mesquite, hackberry, catclaw, oak, willow, ash, cottonwood, or low shrub, usually near water and seldom more than 5 feet above the ground.
FOOD: Mostly eats animal matter (insects and spiders), gleaned from leaves and branches; also eats a few berries.
REFERENCES: Chapin 1925, Forbush and May 1955, Johnsgard 1979, Tate and Tate 1982, Verner and Boss 1980, Terrill in Farrand 1983c.