What is the Tennessee State Bird?
The northern mockingbird is the official state bird of Tennessee. They are medium-sized songbirds with long legs and long tails. The northern mockingbirds are best known for their ability to mimic other birds, animals, and even artificial sounds. The scientific name of northern mockingbirds “Mimus” is Latin for the word mimic.
These birds are generally overall gray-brown, but paler on the breast and belly area. Northern mockingbirds have black bills and yellowish-orange iris. They also have parallel wing bars on the half of the wings which gives them a distinctive appearance at the time of flight. The white outer tail feathers also add to the flashiness when the mockingbirds fly.
State Bird of Tennessee Facts
- Common name: Northern Mockingbird
- Scientific name: Mimuspolyglottos
- Habitat: Towns, suburbs, parks, forest edges, backyard, open land at low elevations
- Diet: Arthropods, earthworms, berries, fruits, seeds, lizards
- Song and Calls: can imitate the vocals of other birds, animals, and artificial items.
- Weight: 40-58 g
- Length: 20.5-28 cm
- Wingspan: 31-38 cm
- Average lifespan: Up to 8 years, but captive birds can live up to 20 years
- Incubation period: 11 to 14 days
Tennessee’s state bird, The northern mockingbirds can imitate many sounds. They can imitate the chirps of 35 different bird species too. It can learn over 200 different songs in its lifespan. Northern mockingbirds live across the United States and in parts of Canada and Mexico. The mockingbird is the state bird of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. They are generally found on tall undergrowth or tree branches on the edges of forests, in backyards, or in parks. In the 19th century, people used to keep a lot of mockingbirds as cage birds.
Description and Size
As a result, the birds are nearly extinct from parts of the East Coast. People took the baby birds out of their nests or ensnared adult birds and sold them in cities such as Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New York. The Northern Mockingbird often gives a wing flashing display. The bird opens its wings half or completely in jumpy transitional steps. This display shows off the big white patches of its wings. It is unknown to everyone why it does that. It is possible that it may surprise insects which makes them easier to catch. Although it doesn’t seem to be successful sometimes.
Northern Mockingbirds sing all day long. Sometimes they sin at night too. Unmated males are mostly nocturnal singers. Nighttime singing is more typical during the full moon. Northern Mockingbirds characteristically sing from February to August. They sing again from September to November. A male mockingbird has two discrete ranges of songs: one for fall time and another for springtime. The female Northern Mockingbird can sing too. It is usually quieter than the male ones. The female bird infrequently sings in the summer.
It sings usually when the male bird is away from the neighborhood. It sings more in the fall. It lives up to 8 years and the oldest Northern Mockingbird on record was at least 14 years, 10 months old when it was found in Texas. Northern Mockingbird’s enemies are snakes, owls, hawks, blue jays, American alligators, and raccoons. Northern mockingbirds are famous for their ability to mimic everything it hears. Scientists believe that they make these copycat calls to show off for would-be mates.
The Northern Mocking birds are very territorial and they scare away other birds that invade their home territory. During breeding season in spring, they are particularly protective. Females typically lay up to six eggs. They lay eggs two to three times each season. The babies leave the nest just 12 days after they hatch. The law designating the mocking bird, or mockingbird as the official Tennessee state bird is Senate Joint Resolution No. 51 on April 19, 1933.
The Tennessee state bird was adopted by Senate Joint Resolution, rather than an act of the Legislature, and is not recorded in the Tennessee Code. This omnivorous state bird of Tennessee, Northern Mockingbird has been found to be quite intelligent. In 2009, a study showed that they can recognize individual humans. They can identify previous intruders or threats rather easily.