Tropical Mockingbird (Mimus gilvus)

Tropical Mockingbird

[order] Passeriformes | [family] Mimidae | [latin] Mimus gilvus | [UK] Tropical Mockingbird | [FR] Moqueur des savanes | [DE] Tropenspottdrossel | [ES] Sinsonte Tropical | [IT] Mimo tropicale | [NL] Tropische Spotlijster


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Mimus gilvus LA S Mexico to El Salvador, n, e SA
Mimus gilvus antelius
Mimus gilvus antillarum
Mimus gilvus gilvus
Mimus gilvus gracilis
Mimus gilvus leucophaeus
Mimus gilvus magnirostris
Mimus gilvus melanopterus
Mimus gilvus rostratus
Mimus gilvus tobagensis
Mimus gilvus tolimensis

Physical charateristics

Tropical Mockingbird adult has grey head and upperparts. Wings are blackish with two conspicuous white wing bars, and white edges on flight feathers. Long tail is blackish with white broad tips on outer feathers. Underparts are white.
Forehead, crown and nape are grey. Face is paler with whitish cheeks and dusky lores. Black bill is slim and slightly down curved. Eyes are yellow and we can see a broad grey-white eyeline. Long legs and feet are blackish.
Both sexes are similar.
Juvenile is duller and browner than adults and underparts are slightly spotted with pale brown on chest and flanks. Eyes are dusky.

Listen to the sound of Tropical Mockingbird

[audio: Mockingbird.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 25 cm size max.: 26 cm
incubation min.: 13 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 14 days fledging max.: 16 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


It is a resident breeding bird from southern Mexico south to northern Brazil, and in the Lesser Antilles and other Caribbean islands. The birds in Panama and Trinidad may have been introduced.


Tropical Mockingbird lives in open habitats, farmlands, human habitation. It can be found from sea level to 2500 metres of elevation in Guatemala and Colombia, in cleared areas.


Tropical Mockingbird builds its nest in thick bushes or shrubbery. It will also built nests in man made structures like houses and sheds. It is an open cup made with sticks and rootlets, at no great height, about 2, 50 to 3 meters. Female lays 2 to 3 eggs, spotted with reddish-brown. Incubation lasts about 13 to 15 days, by female. Male defends the nest. Chicks are fed by both parents. This species may produce two broods per season. They nest during the rainy period, in order to get food resources, mainly insects and fruits.
Nests are sometimes parasitized by Shiny Cowbirds (molothrus bonariensis). Tropical Mockingbird accepts the eggs. Explanation says that if the Mockingbird ejects the intruder’s eggs, it may also eject or damage its own eggs. Some nests can contain up to 8 eggs of Shiny Cowbird. Strange fact, cowbirds do not parasitize the second broods, probably according to the food resources of this period. However, about 80% of Tropical Mockingbird’s nests are parasitized during the first period, from April to June. Reproduction success is about 20% in April-June, and up to 80% in October. But it may vary according to the region.

Feeding habits

Tropical Mockingbird feeds on invertebrates. It forages on the ground and among vegetation. It also may fly down from a perch to catch insects. This bird can take food on tables or in plates.
It often spreads its wings when foraging, displaying the white wing bars. It may be aggressive towards other species on bird feeders. It runs around grassy areas, and raises its wings above its back after running. This species likes open spaces. Tropical Mockingbird feeds on insects, caterpillars, spiders, but also seeds and berries


This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 2,200,000 km

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *