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Blue-and-white Mockingbird

Melanotis hypoleucus

The blue-and-white mockingbird, with its scientific name Melanotis hypoleucus, is a rather striking bird. Adults typically exhibit a dull slate blue on their upperparts, which becomes slightly more vivid atop their crowns. Their wings and tails are of a slaty black hue, and they sport a distinctive black "mask" that extends from the lores past the eyes. The underparts are predominantly white, with a gradual darkening to bluish or slate gray on the flanks and vent area. Juveniles share a similar pattern, but their upperparts are a dull slaty gray rather than blue. On average, these birds measure between 24.2 to 28 cm in length and weigh around 68 grams.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the blue-and-white mockingbird, look for the contrast between the white underparts and the darker, slate blue upperparts. The black facial mask is a key feature, as well as the slaty black wings and tail. The bird's size and shape are also indicative, with a length that can reach up to 11 inches.

Habitat

This species is quite adaptable, residing in various landscapes such as the fringes of humid evergreen forests, pine-oak forests, secondary growths, and both humid and semi-arid scrublands.

Distribution

The blue-and-white mockingbird is a year-round resident found from south of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico, extending through Guatemala and reaching into El Salvador and southern Honduras. It thrives at elevations ranging from 900 to 3,000 meters.

Behaviour

The blue-and-white mockingbird is known to forage primarily on the ground, adeptly sweeping aside leaf litter with its bill to uncover food.

Song & calls

The vocal repertoire of this species is quite remarkable, featuring an eclectic medley of bird notes. Its song includes a rapid succession of monosyllables, interspersed with shrill squeaks, whistles, and guttural croaks. While not necessarily musical or harmonious, the variety is certainly impressive. Additionally, the bird employs a wide array of calls.

Breeding

Breeding season for the blue-and-white mockingbird spans from May to August. The female is responsible for constructing the nest, which is a shallow cup made of fibrous roots atop a stick platform, typically situated in dense thickets or small trees. Clutches usually consist of two eggs, with the female handling incubation and brooding, while both parents partake in feeding the nestlings.

Diet and Feeding

While the full extent of its diet is not thoroughly documented, the blue-and-white mockingbird is known to consume invertebrates and small fruits, foraging mainly on the ground.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the blue-and-white mockingbird as Least Concern. Despite its extensive geographic range, the exact population numbers are unknown. There is a concern that habitat destruction or degradation could threaten the viability of populations in the future.

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