Readers’ wildlife photos

July 31, 2022 • 8:00 am

It’s Sunday, and that means we get a set of themed bird photos from biologist John Avise. John’s commentary and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Mimic Thrushes— Accomplished Singers

Birds in the family Mimidae (a native American group commonly known as “mimic thrushes”) are gifted songsters, with the males issuing rich and varied songs especially during the breeding season.  Indeed, in some species, males incorporate phrases from other species’ songs (or eveninanimate sounds such as squeaky gates) into their vocal repertoires.  Mockingbirds are especially notorious for such mimicry.  Why this behavior evolved is uncertain, but one leading hypothesis for which there is some evidence is that females prefer to mate and raise offspring with more loquacious males.   About 10 species of mimic thrushes inhabit North America, several of which are shown in this week’s post.  In parentheses is the state where I photographed each species.

Gray Catbird, Dumetella carolinensis (Texas):

Brown Thrasher, Toxostoma rufum (South Carolina):

Another Brown Thrasher:

Curve-billed Thrasher, Toxostoma curvirostre (Arizona):

Another Curve-billed Thrasher:

California Thrasher, Toxostoma redivivum (California):

Another California Thrasher:

California Thrasher headshot:

Long-billed Thrasher, Toxostoma longirostris (Texas):

Sage Thrasher, Oreoscoptes montanus (California):

Northern Mockingbird, Mimis polyglottos (California):

Another Northern Mockingbird:

Northern Mockingbird in flight:

Pair of Northern Mockingbirds:

3 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Great photos! The Mockingbirds have such small beaks compared to the Thrashers.
    Those Brown Thrashers are gorgeous.

  2. A very nice set of birds. Here in western WA, we don’t have any Thrashers. I guess there are some winter mockingbird sightings, but they’re rare. 🙁

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