Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

name = Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
status = LC | status_system = IUCN3.1
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Passeriformes
familia = Polioptilidae
genus = "Polioptila"
species = "P. melanura"
binomial = "Polioptila melanura"
binomial_authority = (Lawrence, 1857)

The Black-tailed Gnatcatcher ("Polioptila melanura") is a small, insectivorous bird which ranges throughout the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It is nonmigratory and found in arid desert areas year-round.


The Black-tailed Gnatcatcher was described by American ornithologist George Newbold Lawrence in 1857. Meaning 'black-tailed', its specific name is derived from the Ancient Greek "melano-" 'black' and "oura" 'tail'.cite book | author = Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott | year = 1980 | title = A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition) | publisher = Oxford University Press | location = United Kingdom | isbn =0-19-910207-4]


The Black-tailed Gnatcatcher reaches about 4.5 to 5 inches in length, much of it taken up by a long black tail lined with white outer feathers. The body is blue-gray, with white underparts, and while it is similar to the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, the two birds are differentiated by the amount of black in the tail feathers. The male has a black cap during the summer that extends to the eyes. Females and winter males, lacking the black cap, are difficult to distinguish from the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. The best way to tell the two apart is the tail; that of the blue-gray is mostly white when viewed from below, and the black-tailed is predominantly black underneath. Like other gnatcatchers, it may give harsh, scolding calls while foraging for small insects and spiders in desert shrubs.cite book | last = Steven J. Phillips, Patricia Wentworth Comus (eds.) | title = A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert | publisher = University of California Press | date = 2000 | pages = 464-466 | isbn = 0-520-21980-5 ]


Black-tailed Gnatcatchers live in pairs all year, defending their territory and foraging in trees and low shrubs for a wide variety of small insects and some spiders. Unlike the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, the black-tailed variety rarely catches insects in midair.


The nest is an open-cup, built by both sexes, and is typically found in low shrubs less than five feet off the ground. It is constructed of a variety of materials including weeds, grass, strips of bark, spider webs and plant fibers. It is lined with finer, softer matter. Three to five bluish-white eggs with red-brown dots are incubated by both parents and take 14 days to hatch. The young are fed by both parents, and leave the nest 10 to 15 days after hatching. Even though cowbirds aften lay eggs in this species' nests, and the pair end up raising cowbird young, the Black-tailed Gnatcatcher population seems to be holding up well.


* Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern

*ITIS|ID=179857|taxon=Polioptila melanura|year=2006|date=24 January

External links

* [ Black-tailed Gnatcatcher]
* [ Black-tailed Gnatcatcher] at
* [ Black-tailed Gnatcatcher photo gallery] VIREO [ Photo-High Res--(Close-up)]
* [ Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Photos] South Dakota Birds and Birding

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • black-tailed gnatcatcher — juodauodegis mašalinukas statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Polioptila melanura angl. black tailed gnatcatcher vok. Schwarzschwanz Mückenfänger, m rus. чернохвостая комароловка, f pranc. gobemoucheron à queue noire, m ryšiai …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • black-tailed gnatcatcher — noun : a gnatcatcher (Polioptila melanura californica) of southern California and Lower California …   Useful english dictionary

  • Black-capped Gnatcatcher — Taxobox name = Black capped Gnatcatcher status = LC | status system = IUCN3.1 regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Aves ordo = Passeriformes familia = Polioptilidae genus = Polioptila species = P. nigriceps binomial = Polioptila… …   Wikipedia

  • Black-tailed — may refer to:In mammalogy:* Black tailed Deer, species of deer found in western North America * Black tailed Gazelle, gazelle found in a large area of central Asia * Black tailed Hairy Dwarf Porcupine, South American porcupine species from the… …   Wikipedia

  • gnatcatcher — /nat kach euhr/, n. any tiny insect eating, New World warbler of the genus Polioptila, having a long, mobile tail and a slender bill. [1835 45; GNAT + CATCHER] * * * Any of about 11 species of small songbirds (genus Polioptila) often treated as a …   Universalium

  • Gnatcatcher — Taxobox name = Gnatcatchers image caption = Polioptila californica regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Aves ordo = Passeriformes subordo = Passeri familia = Polioptilidae familia authority = Baird, 1858 subdivision ranks = Genera… …   Wikipedia

  • California Gnatcatcher — Taxobox name = California Gnatcatcher status = EN | status system = IUCN3.1 image width = 250px regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Aves ordo = Passeriformes familia = Polioptilidae genus = Polioptila species = P. californica binomial …   Wikipedia

  • Sibley-Monroe checklist 15 — The Sibley Monroe checklist was a landmark document in the study of birds. It drew on extensive DNA DNA hybridisation studies to reassess the relationships between modern birds. Passeriformes (continued)Sittidae* Sitta europaea Wood Nuthatch *… …   Wikipedia

  • List of birds of Mexico — This is a list of the bird species recorded in Mexico. The avifauna of Mexico includes a total of 1,085 species, of which 108 are endemic, six have been introduced by humans, and 51 are rare or accidental. One species listed is extirpated in… …   Wikipedia

  • List of birds in Canada and the United States — This list of birds in Canada and the United States is a comprehensive listing of all the bird species known from the North American continent north of Mexico as of July 2008.North American birds most closely resemble those of Eurasia, which was… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”