Gray Catbird

There is an abundance of Gray Catbirds in the Everglades and Big Cypress area of Florida.


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Gray Catbird collecting berries


Have you heard one to understand why they’re named a catbird?  Take a listen…..


Gray Catbird ‘meowing’ call
(courtesy of


The first time I heard one years ago, I honestly thought a kitten was hiding in the bushes.  I searched and searched for that poor kitty that needed help.  Suddenly a gray bird shot out of the bushes and was gone.  So was the meowing!


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Gray Catbird collecting berries


This is a very secretive bird, always trying to hide from you in the thick of the leaves and branches.

Because I had been sitting still (in my bird mobile) for a while, watching and photographing this and several other bird species, a Gray Catbird brazenly landed in front of me on a fence.  😲


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Curious Gray Catbird


When I see the Gray Catbird, I always think their ‘black cap’ looks like they have on a toupee.  😉

The Gray Catbird isn’t just black and gray.  If you’re lucky, you’ll get a glimpse of its rusty-color feathers under its tail.


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Gray Catbird displaying its rusty brown rump


I watched and photographed all the birds in that one sitting for almost an hour, hoping I’d capture this bird with some of the pink flowers of a Hong Kong orchid tree s/he was flying in and out.

Finally, a moment of its rest gave me the opportunity.


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Gray Catbird in a Hong Kong Orchid Tree


There was another, much smaller bird I was trying to capture in this same tree.  Next post!


56 thoughts on “Gray Catbird

  1. Aw…I love catbirds! Can’t wait for mine to get back up here to New England in a few weeks. I love gardening in the yard with the “constant catbird commentary” coming from the bushes where the cats hide. 😉

  2. Yes Donna that certainly sounds like a catbird but looks very different to ours, particularly in beak structure. Though ours are rainforest birds and extremely loud as their call amplifies on the gum leaves. Ours are are also very secretive fruit eaters and part of the Bowerbird family as they have a similar ritual to bowerbirds and structure.

      • So true Donna it is loud. The early European settlers thought it was a person in distress and they spent hours in groups searching but to no avail. Finally they discovered it was a bird, and a very shy and elusive one at that.

  3. Nice shots. Yes, it does look like a toupee. I’ve always thought American goldfinches look like they are wearing a really bad toupee. 🙂

  4. The Gray Catbirds were by far the most abundant smaller birds throughout the campground on our recent Okefenokee trip. Clever little birds with lots of personality! William

    • We tend to underappreciate the less colorful birds and shouldn’t. You’re right, this bird is quite clever! I enjoy watching catbirds playing hide-and-seek with me, they make me laugh. I think I sometimes here them giggle too! hee hee 😉

  5. Great shots (as usual) and fascinating bits about the bird. I think I may have heard something like your audio. I’ll have to research whether we have them here.
    Yay! The swallows returned today and have been zooming past the box they nested in last year!!!

  6. Excellent captures, Donna. I’m envious of your camera equipment! 😉
    I’m looking forward to our summer catbirds returning. Their warning cries always sound like a Long Islander calling, “Jerry!” with a thick NY accent! Always makes me smile as I call back the same to them. 🙂

    • Awwww….thank you Eliza! I love the warning cry sounding like a Long Islander’s thick accent! 😅 I ‘meowed’ at the one on the fence here, s/he cocked its head at me. LOL!

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