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Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Polioptila caerulea ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: POLIOPTILIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A tiny, long-tailed bird of deciduous forests and scrublands, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher makes itself known by its soft but emphatic "spee" calls and its constant motion. By flicking its white-edged tail from side to side, the gnatcatcher may scare up hiding insects.

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Appearance

Chickadeelike
Chickadeelike
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Tiny bird.
  • Long tail.
  • Bluish gray back.
  • White underside.
  • White eyering.
  • White outer tail feathers.
  • Small, thin bill.
  • No wingbars.

Male Description

Breeding (Alternate) Plumage: Black line meeting over the bill and extending around head above the eyes to just behind the eyes. Crown and nape washed with bluish.
Nonbreeding (Basic) Plumage: Crown and nape medium gray. Face all medium gray.

Female Description

Face all gray, with white eyering. Overall paler gray than male.

Immature Description

Similar to adult female, but wings slightly browner.

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Similar Species

Similar Species

  • Cerulean Warbler with streaking on chest and sides, two wingbars, and shorter tail, lacks eyering and white outer tail feathers.
  • Kinglets with greenish, with wingbars and shorter tails.
  • Black-tailed Gnatcatcher with mostly black undersides to tail feathers, duller overall. Breeding male with black cap.
  • California Gnatcatcher with darker underside and nearly all black tail. Breeding male with black cap.
  • Rare Black-capped Gnatcatcher female very similar, with longer bill and more tapered tail. Breeding male with extensive black cap.