Did you get the answer to my question in last week’s blog? Looking at the above photo, you might guess a small gull, or maybe a plover, but those are not correct. Today’s feature is about the very expressive endemic Galapagos Mockingbird.
Mockingbirds are found globally and in fact they are a favorite photo subject of mine locally. They are pretty birds and friendly – I have had a mockingbird STALK ME as I hiked through wooded areas near my home:
Mockingbirds love to sing – males and females – and one of their biggest talents is to mimic not only other birds but also out-of-species sounds they find interesting, whether it be a frog or even a car alarm:
I love the attitude of these birds – they are quite forward – besides stalking people they also harass other birds (and sometimes tourists) to give up food and they are fierce protectors of their territories and nests. They are also very curious and have no fear of humans.
The Galapagos Mockingbird shares these traits – here’s a photo of one who walked right up to me on the beach near the Finch Bay Hotel in Santa Cruz:
The Galapagos Mockingbird is a scavenger and will eat just about anything – insects, snails, crabs, fruit, nectar, plants, sea-bird eggs, small baby nestlings, and even meat from dead carcases. They live across a wide range of habitats including arid land, coastal, woodland, brush and mangrove forests. I can attest to this fact as I found them all over the islands;
The mockingbird couple that I came upon in an arid desert area are probably my favorite (although the cheeky bird on the beach is a close runner-up):
It seemed to me that they were having quite a marital squabble. Mockingbirds are monogamous, but they live within a group and even have “helpers,” usually non-breeding males who help with the brooding. There are territorial fights especially during mating season, but otherwise the community is cohesive. There is a much higher ratio of males to females.
I wonder whether one of the birds above went out-of-bounds.