Arkansas State Bird

Arkansas State Bird: Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos

Arkansas State Bird Description:

  • Size: 8 to 10 inches (21-26 cm)
  • Wingspan: 12 to 14 inches (31-35 cm)
  • Weight: 1.59 to 2.05 ounces (45-58 g)

The Northern Mockingbird is a medium sized songbird. It is pale grey on the top and white below with two white wing bars and large white patches that show on the wings in flight. The tail is long with white outer tail feathers. The males and the females look the same.

Habitat:

The Northern Mockingbird lives in thickets, woodland edges, parks and gardens, favouring more open areas, open grounds and shrubby vegetation  It's also found in towns.

Range:

Can be found from southern Canada, southward to southern Mexico and the Caribbean. It's introduced in Bermuda and Hawaii. It breeds from northern California, eastern Nebraska, Southern Ontario and Atlantic Canada southward to southern Mexico.

Nesting:

The female Northern Mockingbird builds its nest in a depression on the ground. She shapes it by digging in the dirt with her bill. She then lines the depression with soft grass and makes a roof by pulling grass and plants over the depression. She then weaves in grass to make a waterproof dome, leaving enough space for an opening.

The clutch contains 3 to 7 eggs and the incubation period is about 12 days. The meadowlark usually has two broods a year. The male protects the nest by noisily chasing intruders away.

A Few Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Arkansas State Bird:

  • The nest of the Northern Mockingbird is sometimes left open. It is usually at least partially covered by a waterproof roof made from woven grass. It may even have a complete roof and an entrance tunnel several feet long.
  • The male uses visual display behaviors to attract a mate. When he finds a female that he wants to mate with, he points his bill in the air, puffs out his yellow throat and flaps his wings above his head. If that doesn't get the female's attention, he hops up and down.
  • A male Northern Mockingbird usually has two mates at the same time. The females do all the incubation and brooding, and most of the feeding of the young.

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