aba events
Nikon Monarch 7

    #ABArare - Tropical Mockingbird - Texas

    On Wednesday, April 18, James Clark and Don Jeane discovered an unusual mockingbird near the entrance to Sabine Woods, a property owned and managed by the Texas Ornithological Society in Jefferson County on the Upper Texas Coast.  Photos of the oddity were shared with other birders who confirmed that the bird in question appeared to be a Tropical Mockingbird, Mimus gilvus.  This is a potential first ABA record.

    Tropical Mockingbird - Texas

    Photo by Terry Ferguson

    Tropical Mockingbird is a permanent resident from southern Mexico, including the Yucatan peninsula, throughout Central America into northern Brazil. The species is similar to Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos, but lacks the white patches in the wings and shows significantly less white in a longer tail.  Vocalizations and behavior are often indistinguishable from Northern Mockingbird and in the past the two species have been considered conspecific (Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America, Howell and Webb).

    The Sabine Woods property is located two hours east of Houston and just south of Port Arthur.  From Port Arthur, travel south on SH 87.  The property lies four miles west of Sabine Pass on the north side of the road at the western boundary of Texas Point NWR.

    The bird in question has been associating loosely with Northern Mockingbirds near the entrance of Sabine Woods, inside the refuge and to the east of the gate. It was seen as recently as Saturday afternoon.

    Sabine Woods is open to all TOS members and members of other contributing organizations. If you are not a member, TOS asks that you pay a $5 entrance fee to use the property.

    Tropical Mockingbird is a popular cage bird in Mexico, so its provenance will be well-considered.  The location on the Upper Texas Coast, rather than close to the border, may be a point in its favor, however.  Other nonmigratory species that nest on the Yucatan peninsula, notably Greenish Elaenia (High Island, Galveston, May 1984) and Yucatan Vireo (Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston, May 1984), have occured in the area in the past and were deemed by rel event organizations to be natural vagrants.

    The Upper Texas Coast is well-birded this time of year so the bird will undoubtedly be monitored closely.  Steve Mayes (at sgmayes AT hotmail DOT com) of Port Arthur has graciously agreed to act as “keeper of the bird” and to answer specific questions, but for the most up to the minute reports see TexBirds, the Texas state bird listserv.

    UPDATE: The bird is still present as of Sunday (4/22) AM.

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Nate Swick

    Nate Swick

    Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog. A long-time member of the bird blogosphere, Nate has been writing about birds and birding at The Drinking Bird since 2007, but can also be found writing regularly at 10,000 Birds. In the non-digital world, he's an environmental educator and interpretive naturalist. Nate lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children, who are not yet aware that they are being groomed to be birders.
    Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
    If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
    Read More »

    Recent Comments

    • Ted Floyd, in Lehman: Learn S&D... { There are so many examples. I'll share just one. Technology--especially e-technology--has utterly transformed and expanded the way I appreciate and understand bird vocalizations. Including status-and-distribution... }
    • Marian, in Birder's Guide is here!... { I read it cover to cover and then sent the South Africa article to my son's in-laws as they are now on their way to... }
    • Alan Wormington, in Lehman: Learn S&D... { Superb commentary by Paul Lehman! I remember back in the 1970s birders were actually EXCITED about learning the status and distribution of birds in their... }
    • JoshExmoor, in Rare Bird Alert: April 18, 2014... { I think that's the assumption and apparently the Farallones bird was "missing" on the days it was seen on Alcatraz (see: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=674122&MLID=CA12&MLNM=CA%20-%20San%20Francisco). All I know... }
    • Mike Hudson, in Rare Bird Alert: April 18, 2014... { Maryland also hosted a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, at Fort Smallwood in Anne Arundel County. It was first found on April 12th and was present most of... }
    • Older »




    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    • Adapting To A Human World April 17, 2014 11:08
      For many species, the slow process of evolution makes it very difficult to adapt to a dynamic society. However, some birds have evolved certain characteristics to assist in ensuring the survival of the species in the face of an ever-changing world. Others have learned behaviors that can assist in their survival. […]
    • From Coffee to Penguins: Winter Research 2014 April 2, 2014 6:04
      This post is the beginning of a series meant to highlight new discoveries about birds and make ornithological research more accessible to young birders. […]
    • March Blog Birding April 2, 2014 4:06
      This cold winter seems to be finally releasing its iron grasp on much of the northern US and Canada, and is giving way to thoughts of warmer weather and the arrival of the first spring migrants. With these first migrants have come some great blog posts from the young birding community. Lucas Bobay from Birding With […]

    Follow ABA on Twitter

    Nature Blog Network