Polioptila caerulea
(Blue-gray Gnatcatcher)

Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Sylviidae
Family Description: Gnatcatchers, and Old World Warblers

Physical Description:
4-5" (10-13 cm). Bluish-gray above, white below; long black tail edged with white; narrow white eye-ring. Males have black on forehead.

Similar Species- Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

Call is repeated, raspy zhees. Song is a wheezy: keer-chit-chi-keer-keer.

Breeds from southern South Dakota, central Nevada, southern Utah, Oregon, portions of upper Midwest, southern Ontario, and portions of New England, south to southern Baja California, Guatemala, Gulf Coast, and Florida. Winters along coastal southeastern U.S., south to Central America.

Found in deciduousClick word for definition forests, open woodlands, second growth, scrub, brushy areas, and chaparralClick word for definition. In winter, found in wide range of brushy habitats. In Idaho, species is associated with juniper stands.

Insects and other small invertebrates.

Takes food from foliage; may hover while foraging. Builds nest on limb, or in fork of tree. Breeding pairs establish territory which male defends, occasionally assisted by female. In California study, breeding territories averaged 4.6 ac, and ranged from 2.2-7.4 ac.

Both sexes incubateClick word for definition 4- 5 eggs for 15 days. Nestlings are altricialClick word for definition and naked at hatching. Young are brooded and fed by both parents, and leave nest in 12-13 days.

Element Code: ABPBJ08010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3,NTMB
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
Taylor, D.M. and C.H. Trost. 1987. The status of rare birds in Idaho. Murrelet 68:69-93.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.