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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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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
3.9–4.3 in
10–11 cm
Wingspan
6.3 in
16 cm
Weight
0.2–0.2 oz
5–7 g
Other Names
  • Gobemoucherons Gris-bleu (French)
  • Perlita Común, Perlita Grisilla (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is the northernmost-occurring species of gnatcatcher, and the only truly migratory one. Most members of its genus are resident in the Neotropics.
  • The soft, rambling song of the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher usually contains some mimicked songs of other bird species.

Habitat


Forest

Breeds in variety of deciduous wooded habitats from shrubland to mature forest, especially near water.

Food


Insects

Small insects and spiders.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3–6 eggs
Egg Description
Pale blue with some small dark spots.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless.
Nest Description

Open cup with high walls, made of spider webbing or caterpillar silk, covered with lichens or bark flakes. Lined with grass stems, bark strips, plant down, hair, feathers, or other fine fibers. Placed far out from trunk on tree limbs.

Nest Placement

Tree

Behavior


Foliage Gleaner

Feeds near tips of branches, constantly moving through foliage. Moves tail continuously, which may flush insects.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Expanded breeding range northward over last century. Common, with no significant population increases or decreases.

Credits

  • Ellison, Walter G. 1992. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea). In The Birds of North America, No. 23 (A. Poole, P. Stettenheim, and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, DC: The American Ornithologists' Union.

Range Map Help

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Range Map
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