Family Mockingbirds and Thrashers (Mimidae)

Least Concern

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)


French: Moqueur polyglotte German: Spottdrossel Spanish: Sinsonte norteño

[Turdus] polyglottos


, 1758,

Virginia, USA


Sometimes considered conspecific with M. gilvus; apparent hybrids reported in S Mexico. Reported as interbreeding, probably rarely, with M. gundlachii in Caribbean. Race leucopterus sometimes merged with nominate. Proposed races elegans and delinificus (both from Bahamas), described largely on basis of whiter underparts, and dominicus (Haiti), supposedly with more white in wings, considered better treated within orpheus. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. p. leucopterus (Vigors, 1839) – extreme SW Canada (S British Columbia E to S Manitoba) and W USA (E to Nebraska and Texas) S to S Mexico (rarely, to Isthmus of Tehuantepec), including Socorro I (off W Mexico) and many other offshore islands in Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California.
  • M. p. polyglottos (Linnaeus, 1758) – extreme SE Canada and E USA.
  • M. p. orpheus (Linneaus, 1758) – Bahamas S to Greater Antilles, Cayman Is and Virgin Is.
  • Nominate race introduced to Bermuda#R and Hawaiian Is#R.

    Descriptive notes

    23–28 cm; 36–56 g, average 48·5 g. Distinctive mid-sized mimid. Has dusky lores, greyish side of head with obscure whitish supercilium; crown and... read more


    Loud, conspicuous and persistent song (accompanied by visual displays) familiar to many, a... read more


    Wide range of low, rather open, often scrubby and disturbed vegetation. In E, typical of woodland... read more

    Food and feeding

    Omnivorous, feeds nearly equally on insects, e.g. beetles (Coleoptera), hymenopterans and orthopterans, and small, soft fruits. Arthropod... read more


    Mar–Aug, beginning earlier in S of range; 2–3 broods typical throughout range. Normally monogamous, but polyandry and bigamy... read more


    Largely sedentary over most of range. Some populations at N limits of range withdraw S after... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common and conspicuous throughout range. During 20th century, this species extended its range N along E coast of USA into E Canadian provinces; also... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cody, M. (2019). Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 April 2019).