My Bantam Lake

Gray Catbird

Written on 06/10/2018

Dumetella  carolinensis

A medium-sized, slender songbird with a long, rounded, black tail and a narrow, straight bill. Catbirds are fairly long legged and have broad, rounded wings. They measure 21 to 24 centimeters in length and have a wingspan of 22 to 30 centimeters. Catbirds give the impression of being entirely slaty gray. With a closer look you’ll see a small black cap, blackish tail, and a rich rufous-brown patch under the tail. These birds are secretive but energetic, hopping and fluttering from branch to branch through tangles of vegetation. Singing males sit atop shrubs and small trees. Catbirds are reluctant to fly across open areas, preferring quick, low flights over vegetation. Look for them in dense tangles of shrubs, small trees, and vines, along forest edges, streamside thickets, old fields, and fencerows. This species is of low conservation concern.

Fun Facts:

  • The Gray Catbird’s long song may last for up to 10 minutes. They make a distinctive mewing sound.
  • The oldest known Gray Catbird lived to be at least 17 years, 11 months old.


Source: Gray Catbird Overview and Identification Information, All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology