Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Silhouette GnatcatchersGnatcatchers

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Polioptila caerulea
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Polioptilidae
Basic Description

A tiny, long-tailed bird of broadleaf forests and scrublands, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher makes itself known by its soft but insistent calls and its constant motion. It hops and sidles in dense outer foliage, foraging for insects and spiders. As it moves, this steely blue-gray bird conspicuously flicks its white-edged tail from side to side, scaring up insects and chasing after them. Pairs use spiderweb and lichens to build small, neat nests, which sit on top of branches and look like tree knots.

More ID Info
image of range map for Blue-gray GnatcatcherRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are widespread but not abundant. The nasal, wheezy, rambling song and insistent, squeaky calls are great first clues to finding them, particularly as these tiny birds can get lost in the generally taller habitats used in the eastern part of their range. It’s a bit easier to find gnatcatchers in the West because they tend to occur in shorter, more open habitat. During fall migration, eastern Blue-gray Gnatcatchers can accumulate on the Gulf Coast, particularly the Texas coast, in huge numbers.

Other Names
  • Perlita Grisilla (Spanish)
  • Gobemoucheron gris-bleu (French)
  • Cool Facts