Grey (or Gray) Catbird Mimicry

Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) by Africaddict

Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) by Africaddict

I came across a very interesting YouTube from the LabofOrnithology. It tells about how the Grey (Gray) Catbird mimics so many bird species (and a frog also). Listen as Greg Budney, audio curator at the Macaulay Library, dissects the recording and notes each snippet of mimicked song. (IOC uses the name Grey Catbird and some others still use the Gray spelling.)



Isn’t that amazing? He produced it very well by showing the bird and then the Catbird mimicking it. I have always enjoyed finding our Grey Catbirds in this area. (When you can find them!)

Catbirds get their name because they belong to several unrelated groups of songbirds because their wailing calls, which resemble a cat’s meowing. The genus name Ailuroedus likewise is from the Greek for “cat-singer” or “cat-voiced”.

Australasian catbirds are the genera Ailuroedus and the monotypic Scenopooetes. They belong to the bowerbird family (Ptilonorhynchidae) of the basal songbirds:

  • White-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus buccoides) *LLABS
  • Green Catbird (Ailuroedus crassirostris)
  • Spotted Catbird (Ailuroedus melanotis)

New World catbirds are two monotypic genera from the mimid family (Mimidae) of the passeridan superfamily Muscicapoidea. Among the Mimidae, they represent independent basal lineages probably closer to the Caribbean thrasher and trembler assemblage than to the mockingbirds and Toxostoma thrashers:

  • Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)*LLABS*
  • Black Catbird (Melanoptila glabrirostris)

A monotypic genus from Africa. It is tentatively placed in the Sylviidae – Sylviid Babblers of the passeridan superfamily Sylvioidea, but possibly closer to the typical warblers of the Sylviidae.

  • Abyssinian Catbird (Parophasma galinieri)
Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) by Raymond Barlow

Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) by Raymond Barlow

Woe to the world for such temptations to sin and influences to do wrong!… (Matthew 18:7 AMP)

And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the LORD. (1 Samuel 8:21 NKJV)

He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends. (Proverbs 17:9 AMP)

By the blessing of the influence of the upright and God’s favor [because of them] the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked. He who belittles and despises his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding keeps silent. He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy and faithful in spirit keeps the matter hidden. (Proverbs 11:11-13 AMP)

As I was watching the video some verses came to mind. What are we mimicking? I’ve written about the birds that repeat what we say in, Birds of the Bible – Repeating Birds. When we watch TV, listen to music, listen to speeches, read the newspaper, etc. We are being influenced. There are times when we “mimic” what we have seen or heard. It can go either way.

We can hear and mimic (copy) the good OR we can hear and mimic (copy) the bad. I trust we are following the Lord and His teachings.

If we mimic, let us mimic the Lord.



4 thoughts on “Grey (or Gray) Catbird Mimicry

  1. What a beautiful photo of a cat bird. I just must copy it and send the water colour
    to a best friend. The most colourful bird that I see in the winter is a friendly
    partridge who knows where to come for his breakfast. From cold and wet Norfolk UK. Peter who appreciates this site very much.


    • Thank you, Peter. Since you are painting the photo, I assume it is permissable. You might want to check with the photographer. Their links are in the Photography of the sidebar.


  2. who would ever thought our cat birds were so talented, there was a bird in a park up the street that was singing, first it sounded like a carolina wren, then a red wing black bird and some warbling that sounded like some of the warblers we have around here (not really up on warbler songs that well) and I find that it is one bird doing this a cat bird, I did not know they sung so beautifully. but the imitation of a frog? that was cool. i would of never recognized it, if I did hear it I would probably think it was a frog not a bird. makes me believe there is a creatory even more since birds do not have the intelligence to figure out what they should do or what birds should look for in a mate, it is all instinct.Jehovah didn’t have to make them sing so beautifully to where we benefit from it, he could of just programmed them to do rattles and clicks and the females would still go ga ga. lol


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