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Mockingbird - Birdwatching - Ecuador

There are four similarly-looking species of endemic mockingbirds in very different home ranges throughout the Galapagos archipelago: the Charles Mockingbird (Nesomimus trifasciatus, cucuve de Floreana), found near Floreana on the islands of Champion and Gardner, the Hood Mockingbird (Nesomimus macdonaldi, cucuve de Española), found on Española, the Chatham Mockingbird (Nesomimus melanotis, cucuve de San Cristóbal) from San Cristóbal, and the Galápagos Mockingbird (Nesomimus parvulus, cucuve de Galápagos), occurring on the remaining major islands.


All four species of mockingbird can be recognized as a thrush-sized, long-tailed, gray and brown streaked land bird. The mockingbirds, especially the Hood variety, will also greet you inquisitively with a loud, piercing shrill, loosely translated as “give me any liquid beverage—even your spit will do.” Resist the temptation to quench their thirst: years of success employing their bad begging behavior on tourists has caused an increasing reliance on them for water.


The mockingbirds have an extremely interesting social structure, reminiscent of a well-cogged familial machine. During the breeding season, they form cooperative groups comprised of a breeding female, her mate, and the offspring of her previous broods, all of whom participate in the raising of the next brood and maintenance of the territory.


During the rest of the year, large communal territories are formed with as few as nine and as many as forty individuals, each contributing to territory defense. It is a hoot (no pun intended) to watch these birds defending their territories: individuals will face off across the imaginary frontier in linear fronts, each enemy pair squawking, flicking their tails, and rushing at each other.


Mockingbirds are omnivorous, but they occasionally exhibit aggressive, predatory behavior. They will eat just about anything: seeds, insects, baby turtles, young finches, and sea lion placenta.


Here are other activities in and around The Galápagos Islands that may be of interest: The Vermilion Flycatcher, Inland Water Birds of Galapagos, Academy Bay Boat Tour, Galapagos Barn Owl, Whimbrels in Galapagos, Darwin's Finches, Smooth-Billed Ani, Galapagos Pintail Duck, Pied-Billed Grebe and Common Moorhen in Galapagos.

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