8-9 1/2" (20-24 cm). A slender gray bird with a long, darker tail with thin, white edges. Dark edging on wings, dark eye encircled by white, and dark bill. Juveniles have dark scalloping below and pale spots above.
Similar Species- Northern Mockingbird, female bluebirds
Call is a short, high-pitched pwip. Song is a loud, melodious rising and falling of phrases with some trills.
Breeds from portions of Alaska and western Canada, south in mountains in western U.S. to southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and central Mexico, and east to Montana, norhteastern Wyoming, and portions of Great Plains. Winters from southwestern Canada, Montana, and South Dakota, east to central Texas, and south to northern Baja California and central Mexico.
Breeds in open montane coniferous forests. Idaho study found species responded positively in number to diameter- cut logging. When not breeding, found in open or riparian woodlands, pinyon/juniper associations, chaparral, and deserts.
Feeds on insects (e.g., caterpillars, beetles, wasps, ants, and bugs). Also eats pine seeds and fruits (e.g., juniper berries, and berries of rose, cedar, mistletoe, and madrona).
Nests in sheltered area on ground. Flies out from perch and catches insects in air. Usually seen singly, in pairs, or in small family groups.
|Status:||Protected nongame species|
Medin, D.E. 1985. Breeding bird responses to diameter-cut logging in west-central Idaho. USDA Forest Service Inter. Res. Sta. Res. Paper INT-355, Boise. 12pp.