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Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)

Blue-grey Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)

Blue-grey Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) Male Baja California Blue-grey Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)

Class: Aves
Family: Sylviidae
Common Name: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Genus: Polioptila
Species Name: caerulea

About The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

A small (4 ½ inches) songbird, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is most easily identified by its blue-gray body, pale breast, and dark tail with white edges. Males in breeding plumage possess a faint black eye-stripes which separates them visually from females, which are less adorned. In winter, male and female Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are similar to one another. The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher breeds across much of the United States, southern Canada, Mexico, and northern portions of Central America. In winter, northerly-breeding populations migrate south, spending the winter anywhere from coastal California and the coastal southeastern U.S.south to Central America and the West Indies. Some southerly-breeding populations, particularly those in the tropics, are non-migratory. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers breed in a number of semi-open woodland habitats, particularly in habitats with deciduous trees and often in locations near water. In winter, this species utilizes a variety of tropical and subtropical shrub habitats. As this species’ name suggests, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers primarily eat small insects. In appropriate habitat, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers may be observed flitting through the undergrowth or the lower canopy while searching for insects on leaves or in crevices in bark. Birdwatchers may also listen for this species’ “squeaky” song or high buzzing call, which alert listeners of its presence. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are primarily active during the day.

Rights Holder: Unknown
Bibliographic Citation: Rumelt, Reid B. Polioptila caerulea. June-July 2012. Brief natural history summary of Polioptila caerulea. Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

Trips Where Observed

Mexico to Panama
Mexico, Baja California Sur
Mexico, Nayarit
Mexico, Veracruz
San Francisco 2007

Member Lifelists

North America
San Francisco
United States

Sites Where Observed

seen daily


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