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Blue Mockingbird Melanotis caerulescens

Haley Vaseghi, Carlos A. Soberanes-González, Claudia I. Rodríguez-Flores, and Marîa del Coro Arizmendi
Version: 1.0 — Published December 24, 2014


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Distinguishing Characteristics

Mimids, including mockingbirds have long, graduated tails, relatively long tarsi, and slender bills. Blue Mockingbird is, as the name suggests, primarily blue. The plumage is generally deep blue, with a black "mask" across the sides of the head and blackish remiges. The sexes are similar, but juveniles are generally dull gray.

Similar Species

Unique within its range, Blue Mockingbird is not easily confused with any other species. The most similar species, Blue-and-white Mockingbird (Melanotis hypoleucus), is allopatric, as Blue-and-white occurs only south of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Furthermore, Blue-and-white Mockingbird has white underparts, rather than being entirely deep blue.

Detailed Description

The following description is based on Ridgway (1907), and refers to nominate caerulescens; see also Geographic Variation:

Adult: Sexes similar; female slight duller. Crown and nape dull grayish blue, the feathers dusky basally, producing a more or less streaked appearance. Rest of upperparts dark grayish blue; shafts of rectrices and remiges black. Undersurface of rectrices and remiges black. Lores, suborbital area, auriculars, chin, and malar region black. Throat and breast pale grayish blue, feathers dusky at base and edges, producing a streaked effect. Belly, flanks, and undertail coverts dull grayish blue, slightly paler than upperparts.

Juvenile: Generally slate gray; rectrices and wings bluer. Lores and auricular region dark slate or slate gray.


Little information; presumably follows the complex basic molt strategy. Attains the definitive plumage when about one year old (Howell and Webb 1995).

Bare Parts

Iris: reddish brown

Bill: black

Tarsi and toes: black


Total length: 23-27 cm (Ridgway 1907), w4-26.5 cm (Howell and Webb 1995)

Linear measurements (from Grant 1965):

wing length:

male caerulescens, mean 114.17 mm ± 0.73 mm (range 106.4-121.3 mm, n = 25)

male longirostris, mean 109.82 mm ± 0.57 mm (range 102.5-118.7 mm, n = 49)

female caerulescens, mean 110.26 mm ± 0.70 mm (range 105.1-118.0 mm, n = 25)

female longirostris, mean 106.82 mm ± 0.49 mm (range 99.4-110.9 mm, n = 44)

tail length:

male caerulescens, mean 123.47 mm ± 0.92 mm (range 112.9-131.6 mm, n = 28)

male longirostris, mean 109.46 mm ± 0.75 mm (range 99.6-119.5 mm, n = 44)

female caerulescens, mean 116.38 mm ± 1.07 mm (range 106.3-126.3 mm, n = 25)

female longirostris, mean 104.92 mm ± 0.92 mm (range 92.6-111.9 mm, n = 22)

bill length:

male caerulescens, mean 17.42 mm ± 0.18 mm (range 15.5-19.6 mm, n = 28)

male longirostris, mean 20.06 mm ± 0.15 mm (range 18.4-22.4 mm, n = 46)

female caerulescens, mean 17.13 mm ± 0.21 mm (range 14.2-19.1 mm, n = 28)

female longirostris, mean 19.72 mm ± 0.14 mm (range 18.3-21.8 mm, n = 23)

tarsus length:

male caerulescens, mean 29.18 mm ± 0.18 mm (range 27.3-30.9 mm, n = 29)

male longirostris, mean 28.46 mm ± 0.14 mm (range 26.4-30.8 mm, n = 52)

female caerulescens, mean 29.30 mm ± 0.18 mm (range 27.4-31.1 mm, n = 31)

female longirostris, mean 28.30 mm ± 0.16 mm (range 26.2-30.1 mm, n = 24)


male, caerulescens, mean 62.62 g ± 0.84 g (range 57.1-66.2 g, n = 12; Grant 1965)

female, caerulescens, mean 66.3 g (range 62.5-69.7 g, n = 4: Grant 1965)

longirostris, mean 59.7 g (range 50.2-68 g, n = 18, sexes combined; Dunning 2008)

Recommended Citation

Vaseghi, H., C. A. Soberanes-González, C. I. Rodríguez-Flores, and M. d. C. Arizmendi (2014). Blue Mockingbird (Melanotis caerulescens), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.blumoc.01