Blue-gray gnatcatcher facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsBlue-gray gnatcatcher
Motacilla caerulea Linnaeus, 1766
The blue-gray gnatcatcher or blue-grey gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) is a very small songbird, 10–13 cm (3.9–5.1 in) in length, 6.3 in (16 cm) in wingspan, and weighing only 5–7 g (0.18–0.25 oz). Adult males are blue-gray on the upperparts with white underparts, have a slender dark bill, and a long black tail edged in white. Females are less blue, while juveniles are greenish-gray. Both sexes have a white eye ring.
The blue-gray gnatcatcher's breeding habitat includes open deciduous woods and shrublands in southern Ontario, the eastern and southwestern United States, and Mexico. Though gnatcatcher species are common and increasing in number while expanding to the northeast, it is the only one to breed in Eastern North America. Both parents build a cone-like nest on a horizontal tree branch, and share feeding the young. The incubation period is 13 days for both sexes, and two broods may be raised in a season.
They forage actively in trees or shrubs, mainly eating insects, insect eggs and spiders. They may hover over foliage while snatching prey (gleaning), or fly to catch insects in flight (hawking).
The tail is often held upright while defending territory or searching for food.
The songs (and calls) are often heard on breeding grounds, (usually away from nest) and occasionally heard other times of the year. Calls: "zkreee, zkreee, zkreee", Songs: "szpree zpree spreeeeey spree spre sprzrreeeee"
Both parents build a cone-like nest on a horizontal tree branch, and share feeding the young. The incubation period is 13 days for both sexes, and two broods may be raised in a season.
Images for kids
Catching an insect in Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Blue-gray gnatcatcher Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.