Fun Catbird Facts For Kids

Akinwalere Olaleye
Jan 13, 2023 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
One of the interesting gray catbird facts is that it has a black cap and black tail.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.3 Min

Catbirds are a group of 14 different birds that are found basically all over the world. These birds belong to four different genera from three different families. The Ptilonorhynchidae family include Australasian catbirds of the genera Ailuroedus and Scenopooetes. Black and gray catbirds are from the Mimidae family, and the Abyssinian catbird is from the Timaliidae family. Catbirds have been given this name because of their cat-like and wailing calls.  Australasian catbirds are endemic to Australia and New Guinea, black catbirds to the Yucatán Peninsula, Abyssinian catbirds to Ethiopia, and gray catbirds are North American birds.

Catbirds are small or medium-sized birds and come in many different colors with gray, black, and green being the most prominent. Green upperparts with mottled and streaked underparts are a characteristic of the Ailuroedus genus. The black catbird is listed by the IUCN as Near Threatened, and the rest of the species are either Least Concern or Not Evaluated.

For more relatable content, check out these Jandaya parakeet fun facts and gray catbird facts for kids.

Catbird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a catbird?

A catbird is a bird species.

What class of animal does a catbird belong to?

Catbirds belong to the Aves class of animals.

How many catbirds are there in the world?

The total number of catbirds in the world is hard to determine since there are 14 different species of catbirds spread across different geographic ranges all around the world. These birds show different population trends and most are fairly common in their habitats.

Where does a catbird live?

Australasian catbirds, birds from the Ailuroedus and Scenopooetes genus, are native to the regions of Australia and New Guinea. Black catbirds are found in the Yucatán Peninsula of North America in the countries of Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. Abyssinian catbirds are native to Ethiopia.

Gray catbirds are known to breed in the spring and summer in southern Canada, northeastern Arizona, going east to northern Florida. Gray catbirds are North American birds that breed in spring and spend their winters along the east coast of the USA, from southern parts of Massachusetts to Florida and in the Gulf Coast, Central America, and the Caribbean.

What is a catbird's habitat?

The various species of catbirds inhabit a variety of different habitats according to their geographic range. Australasia catbirds live in the forest or in mountains. The Abyssinian catbird likes inhabiting mountainous forest along with dry thickets and is seen perching on olive and juniper trees as well as highland bamboos.

The black catbird prefers low elevations and is seen in humid to semi-arid areas, scrublands, edges of woodlands, empty farmlands, understory, and dense thickets.

North American gray catbirds are seen in dense thickets, parks, urban areas, open woodlands, hedgerows, bushy undergrowth, streamside, abandoned farmlands, and habitats near water.

Who do catbirds live with?

Catbirds tend to be mostly solitary but may be seen in pairs during the mating season.

How long does a catbird live?

The various species of catbirds can live for 8-15 years.

How do they reproduce?

Catbirds reproduce by mating and laying eggs. Most species of these birds lay two eggs, but the North American gray catbird lays anywhere between one to five eggs. Young chicks are fed with insects to give them more strength. Fruit is introduced to the young birds in fledging season.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the conservation status of the black-eared catbird, gray catbird, green catbird, Abyssinian catbird, white-eared catbird, and tooth-billed bowerbird is Least Concern.

The conservation status of the black catbird is Near Threatened, and the rest of the seven species remain Not Evaluated.

Catbird Fun Facts

What do catbirds look like?

The catbirds of the genus Ailuroedus have the characteristic ivory-colored bills along with hooked upper jaws. These birds also have large heads, green upperparts, spotting on the underparts, and powerful claws. The tooth-billed bowerbird is an overall olive-brown and stocky bird. It has brown streaking and is buffy-white below. The feet are gray and the iris are brown. The female is marginally smaller than the male.

The Abyssinian catbird is gray and has a whitish forehead, black lores, and a chestnut vent. The black catbird is all black with dark brown eyes, and both sexes are similar.

The North American gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) has an overall slate-gray plumage with black eyes, feet, legs, and bill. The gray catbird also has a black tail and cap and its under tail coverts are chestnut. The tail of the gray catbird is rounded and cocked. Both gray catbirds sexes are similar.

How cute are they?

Catbirds are adorable and beautiful. There are a lot of them, so they come in a variety of different colors. These birds are small and their cat-like calls are easy on the ears. Australasian catbirds are especially cute with the beautiful green backs and heavy streaking. The spotted catbird is a standout among them.

How do they communicate?

Catbirds communicate via calls and songs. They are songbirds and the wailing catbird call usually resembles a cat's meow, giving them their name. Also, the North American gray catbird is able to produce 100 different singing sounds and calls.

How big is a catbird?

Catbirds come in different sizes but their range length is 7.5-10.6 in (19-27 cm). This makes them two to three times bigger than Costa's hummingbirds. The gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) has a wingspan of 8.7-11.8 in (22-30 cm).

How fast can a catbird fly?

Being small to medium-sized birds, catbirds can fly at 25 mph (40 kph).

How much does a catbird weigh?

Catbirds weigh 0.8-2 oz (23-56 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female catbirds do not have specific names.

What would you call a baby catbird?

A baby or young catbird is called a chick.

What do they eat?

Catbirds eat a variety of different food which includes fruit, leaves, berries, insects, mealworms, beetles, earthworms, ants, caterpillars, grasshoppers, moths, holly berries, elderberries, cherries, poison, ivy, blackberries, flies, bay, spiders, and raspberries.

Gray catbirds are North American birds and have region-specific predators such as brown-headed cowbirds, snakes, rats, foxes, domestic cats, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, blue jays, common grackles, American crows, red-tailed hawks, Cooper's hawks, and peregrine falcons.

Are they poisonous?

No, catbirds are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Catbirds are known to be kept in captivity but are not really popular as personal pets. They are wild birds and need their habitats protected especially the black catbird as this species is Near Threatened.

Did you know...

Mockingbirds and catbirds are not the same. Two New World catbirds, the gray catbird and the black catbird belong to the family Mimidae, the same as any mockingbird. No mockingbird is ever called a catbird. However, they are both singing birds.

One of the interesting catbird facts for kids is the calls and singing sounds are mostly given by the male as an invitation to breed.

The catbird gray (Dumetella carolinensis) with black tail is the most well-known species among catbirds.

The Mimidae family (order Passeriformes) consists of thrashers, tremblers, New World catbirds, tremblers. The Sylviidae family (order Passeriformes) consists of warblers and babblers.

What are the different types of catbirds?

There are 14 different types of catbirds. Australasian catbirds are catbirds of the genera Ailuroedus and Scenopooetes. The Ailuroedus genus consists of the ochre-breasted catbird, white-eared catbird, tan-capped catbird, green catbird, spotted catbird, Huon catbird, black-capped catbird, black-eared catbird, Arfak catbird, and the northern catbird.

The Scenopooetes genus consists of just the tooth-billed catbird.

New World catbirds of the Mimidae family (order Passeriformes) are the gray catbird and the black catbird. The gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) is the sole bird in the Dumetella genus and the black catbird is the sole bird in the Melanoptila genus.

The Abyssinian catbird is also the sole species in the Parophasma genus.

How did the catbird get its name?

The catbirds get their name from their call that resembles the 'meow' of a cat.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our Calliope hummingbird fun facts and Anna's mockingbird fun facts for kids pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Catbird coloring pages.

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Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

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