Texas State Bird - Mockingbird

BirdEden Staff Sep 29, 2018
The Northern Mockingbird is the officially chosen state bird of Texas. Mockingbirds are known for their melodious songs and protective nature.
Texas, the 28th state to be admitted into the United States of America on December 29th, 1845, is the second largest in the country. Some of the official Texas state symbols comprise the state flag, bird, flower, tree, seal, etc.

State Bird of Texas

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), the state bird of Texas, is a common songbird found across North America. This bird was chosen as the Texas state bird in 1927, by the Texas legislature, in accordance with the suggestions made by the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs.
The legislature noted that the mockingbird "...is found in all parts of the State, in winter and in summer, in the city and in the country, on the prairie and in the woods and hills...is a singer of distinctive type, a fighter for the protection of his home, falling, if need be, in its defense, like any true Texan..."
Besides Texas, it is also the state bird of Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas, and is considered to be America's favorite backyard bird.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Sturnidae
Genus: Mimus Boie
Species: Mimus polyglottos

Different Calls

Mockingbirds are superb songbirds and mimics. They are known to have the most beautiful bird song of all species.
They have extraordinary vocal abilities and can sing up to 200 melodious songs, including the songs of other bird and insect species, as well as amphibian sounds. Occasionally, they even make mechanical noise.
Their songs are a medley of the calls of several other birds, and each imitation is repeated 2-3 times, after which another song is begun in rapid succession. These birds are observed to sing their lovely songs all night long, especially in bright springtime moonlight. The unmated male birds are seen to sing more as compared to the mated ones.

Appearance

These ten inch birds are grayish in color with white underparts, and feature white spots on their wings. The tail feathers are black and the outer tail feathers are white, making them quite visible during flight. However, both male and female birds look alike.
They also feature slender beaks, yellow eyes, and black legs. Their primary diet is insects such as ants, beetles, grasshoppers, etc., and berries, seeds. Gardens with winter berries are their favorite. They also feed on crayfish, snails, snow bugs, and other tiny vertebrates.
These birds have another remarkable feature. They are fierce protectors of their nest and environment. They are even seen swooping down on cats and dogs that venture too close to their protected territory.

Mating and Reproduction

For the mating dance, the male and female Mockingbirds face each other with their heads, and the tails held high, darting at each other and retreating. These birds build their nests mostly in coniferous or deciduous trees.
The male builds the nest's foundation while the female lines it, and the nest is prepared in 4-8 days. The nests are prepared from twigs, which are then lined with grass, rootlets, etc. The female lays 3-5 blue-green eggs on an average, which have an incubation period of 12-13 days. After this period, the eggs hatch.
For those interested in attracting this melodious Texas state bird into their backyards, installing suet feeders are a good option. Since these birds prefer eating live insects, bird feeders won't help. On the contrary, since they love consuming suet, one can attract them using suet feeders. Birdbaths are also great to attract these beauties into the yard.