Monday, 23 May 2016

Grey Catbird (Moqueur chat)

     Grey Catbird Dumatella carolinensis is a common, but interesting species, that arrives in our area in the early part of May. On most of our recent walks we have been observing this species and hearing its pleasing, gurgling song, often interspersed with the voices of other species, sometimes even those of amphibians.

     At the end of its song it issues a mewing call reminiscent of that of a cat. It is from this characteristic that the bird gets its name.

     It inhabits scrubby areas, overgrown farm land and abandoned orchards. It can also be found in well vegetated suburban areas.

     This species is not particularly shy and can be approached quite closely. It often feeds on the ground and has the habit of flicking its long tail upward.
      Recently, while observing a catbird we noticed this American Toad Anzxyrus americanus almost right at our feet. It was a large specimen and was well camouflaged.

     Grey Catbirds and American Toads - pleasant company to spend the morning with if you ask me.


  1. Hi David & Miriam, again an interesting post, the Grey Catbird looks a wonderful subject, the toad is as you say pleasant company. Have a good week Regards John

  2. That's one birdsong I can usually recognize.

  3. Not a bird species i've ever seen but I have seen a fair few toads at least..............

  4. Dearest David,
    You are right about the Grey Catbirds not being shy. Together with the Blue Jays they are rather loud and don't mind you being nearby at all.
    You were lucky for encountering this American toad!

  5. Pleasant company indeed!

  6. Hello. Beautiful bird. It would be nice to hear the birds singing here in Finland.

  7. Interesting toad, don't see those very often where I live.
    The bird is the sweetest, and it's interesting to see all their different faces.

  8. Hello David, a lovely bird and wonderful it is not shy at all. The Toad was counting on its camouflage ofcourse. Great you spotted it. Also I want to thank you on your kind words on my blog. It helped a lot.

  9. Another bird that I have never heard of before and it sounds like an interesting one. I will look out for it when we are over that way. Interesting that it mimics other creatures besides birds, identifying it from song alone could be difficult! Have a good day Diane

  10. Lovely photos of birds. I took my time enjoying the birds photos but I quickly skipped the toad. Lol!

  11. Beautiful photos of this bird, David. Photo 1 clearly shows the rust-brown stain under the tail. (I read about it on Wikipedia!) The photo of the toad looks great, he is a patient model. Gr Jan W

  12. Hi David.

    Beautiful bird, the frog is also very nice.

    Groettie from Patricia.

  13. Hi, David! It might not be the prettiest of birds, but I look forward to hearing the song of your Grey Catbird.

    Am I correct in thinking that the American Toad is somewhat larger than our Common Toad?

    LOve to you both - - Richard

    1. I think that when you see it Richard you will consider it quite "pretty." It is not a gaudy, colourful bird but has a good degree of elegance about it.

  14. Sounds like a great way to spend the morning to me.