U.S. State Bird of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas -
Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird state bird of Arkansas, Florida, Misssissippi, Tennessee and TexasMockingbirds are considered one of America's favorite backyard birds. Perhaps that is why five states have chosen the Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) as its state bird: Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Tennessee.

The Northern Mockingbird is known for imitating or "mocking" the songs of other birds. Its Latin name means "mimic of many tongues."

  • American Ornithologists Union (AOU) Common Name: Northern Mockingbird
  • Family: Mimidae, Mockingbirds, Thrashers
  • Scientific name: Mimus polyglottos
  • Length: 10" (25 cm)
  • Diet: Insects, fruit; includes crayfish, sowbugs, snails, few small vertebrates; berries.
  • Voice: Song of varied phrases in regimented series: each phrase repeated 2-6 times, then an obvious pause followed by a different series krrDEE-krrDEE-krrDEE, jeurrrdi jeurrrdi jeurrrdi...; most phrases musical; many imitations of other species. Call a harsh, dry chak; harsher and longer than blackbirds; aggressive call a high, wheezy skeeech.
  • Habitat: Found in a variety of habitats including towns, farms, roadsides, thickets.
  • Displays: Male and female perform mating"dance" facing each other with heads and tails high, darting at each other and retreating; may also serve as territorial display, often occurring between males.
  • Number of broods: 2, occasionally 3 or 4
  • Nest: Usually in coniferous or deciduous tree (3-10' above ground), also occasionally in vines; of twigs, lined with grass, rootlets. Male usually builds foundation, female lines it. Built in 4-8 days.
  • Eggs: Averages 3-5 blue-green eggs, usually heavily marked with browns; 1.0" (24 mm).
  • Incubation period: 12-13 days
  • Fledge: 11-13 days after hatching
  • Longevity Record: 14 Years and 10 months (according to USGS Bird Banding Lab) 

Mockingbird Imitating Other Birds and Car Alarm

In the video below, a Northern Mockingbird imitates the songs and calls of Great-tailed Grackles, Cardinals and Cactus Wrens.

At the 2:50 mark, it imitates a car alarm and at 10:21, it makes the sound a Mourning Dove's wings makes when taking off.

Arkansas Birds

The Northern Mockingbird was adopted as the Arkansas State Bird by the General Assembly of 1929.

Florida Birds

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 3 of the 1927 legislative session designated the Mockingbird as the state bird.

Mississippi Birds

The Mockingbird was selected as the official State Bird by the Women's Federated Clubs and by the State Legislature in 1944.

Tennessee Birds

According to the Nashville Banner of April 16, 1933, the mockingbird was selected on April 11, 1933 as the Tennessee State Bird in an election conducted by the Tennessee Ornithological Society. The choice was confirmed by Senate Joint Resolution 51 adopted by the General Assembly in 1933.

Texas Birds

The Mockingbird was designated the Texas State Bird in 1927 (Senate Concurrent Resolution 8, 40th Legislature, Regular Session).

50 State Birds Page

Bird Coloring Pages

Northern Mockingbird Coloring Page

More information about the Northern Mockingbird, its life history, song, identification can be found here.

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