#ABArare - Bahama Mockingbird - Florida
by Nate Swick
Hot on the heels of one wayward mimid in Texas comes a report of another - slightly less controversial - from Florida. On Thursday, April 26, Mitchell Harris found a lightly marked ABA Code 4 Bahama Mockingbird, Mimus gundlachii, at Port Canaveral in Brevard County, Florida.
Photo by Danny Bales, used with permission
Bahama Mockingbird is large mocker, an inch longer than Northern Mockingbird, with narrow wingbars and brown, not gray back, with streaks on its flanks, a dark malar stripe, and a long tail. It has dark lores, a mottled face with a pale supercilium, light gray underparts, and an outer tail tipped with white. It is more secretive than Northerns and its song is repetitive, but it is not known to mimic other species. Although it is a range-restricted species - found in Cuba, the Bahama, and Jamaica - it is said to be expanding its range in the Bahamas. Bahama Mockingbird has been documented to hybridize with Northern Mockingbird (AB 46:414; NAB 60:368, 469).
Although many reports of Bahama Mockingbird in the past have been sent to the Florida Bird Records Committee, as of 2008 only about 8 records had been accepted (ABA Checklist, Seventh Edition, Pranty et al.) though in the last year there have been several reports of this species in Florida, generally from sites farther south on the Florida peninsula. This is, notably, the first record for Brevard County.
Port Canaveral is approximately 55 miles east of Orlando. From Orlando, take 528 to George King Blvd at the Port. Head east a hundred yards to Columbia Blvd, turn right, head south approx a hundred yards to a dead end and park across the road from the Port Canaveral Fire Station. Then look for a large pink gas pipe sticking out of the ground. The bird was south/west of this gas pipe approx 50 yards between a small berm and the exotic tree forest edge. It seemed to favor a large Lantana bush. Please don't park near the entrance/exit to the fire station.
Port Canaveral is a busy terminal for cruise ships embarking across the Caribbean. The bird's proximity to the docks, and the slightly abnormal location within Florida, raise questions of ship-assistance. This species, however, is already on the ABA checklist so decisions regarding countability are up to the individual birder.