Tuesday 18 June
Hood mockingbird (Mimus macdonaldi)
Hood mockingbird fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Hood mockingbird description
The inquisitive, blood-drinking hood mockingbird (Mimus macdonaldi) is the largest of all the mockingbirds in the Galapagos Islands (3). It has a very long bill that curves downwards, and yellowish-brown eyes surrounded by a dark patch. The feathers of the upperparts have blackish-brown centres and grey to brownish-grey margins, giving the plumage a streaked or scalloped appearance (2). The whitish underparts have indistinct brown markings on the breast and streaks on the flanks. The long, graduated tail is dark brown on top and whitish underneath.
The male and female hood mockingbird are similar in appearance, but the female is slightly smaller than the male. The hood mockingbird has a lengthy and strident song (2).
- Also known as
- Espanola mockingbird, Española mockingbird.
- Nesomimus macdonaldi, Nesomimus trifasciatus. Top
Galapagos Conservation Trust:
- A very diverse phylum (a major grouping of animals) that includes crustaceans, insects and arachnids. All arthropods have paired jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton (exoskeleton).
- Dead flesh.
- A plant that sheds its leaves at the end of the growing season.
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- A leguminous plant (one that produces seeds in a pod) which is hardy and drought-tolerant.
- Describes an animal, a pair of animals or a colony that occupies and defends an area.
- An area occupied and defended by an animal, a pair of animals or a colony.
- Animals with a backbone, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.
IUCN Red List (January, 2007)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2005) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 10: Cuckoo-Shrikes to Thrushes. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
Española Mockingbird (June, 2007)
Mockingbirds (June, 2007)
BirdLife International (June, 2007)
UNEP-WCMC: Galápagos Islands National Park and Marine Reserve, Ecuador (June, 2007)
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Hood mockingbird biology
The hood mocking bird is remarkably fearless of humans, and it is not uncommon for one to land on the head of a visitor to its islands (3) (4). It will eagerly explore any unknown object for food or drink (4), and the result of this behaviour is an incredibly varied diet. The hood mockingbird will typically feed on insects, fruits, berries, marine arthropods and small vertebrates, but will also eat carrion from the carcasses of seabirds, lizards and sea lions. Damaged seabird eggs are readily consumed, and it will also use its powerful bill to eat intact eggs and to pluck ticks from the backs of marine and land iguanas. A unique feature of the hood mockingbird is its blood-drinking habit. It commonly drinks blood, especially in the dry season, from wounds on living sea lions, from sea lion placentas, and even from wounds on the legs of humans (2).
A territorial species, the hood mockingbird lives in groups of seven to ten adult birds. However, within this territorial group there is often only one breeding pair (2). The hood mockingbird is a co-operative breeder, meaning that non-breeders act as helpers at the nests in their group's territory, and some breeders help raise nestlings in nests other than their own (3). The cup-shaped nest, made of twigs and lined with finer plant material, is often placed in a cactus. Breeding occurs from March to April, and clutches consist of one to four eggs. The chicks are fed by several adults (2). In the non-breeding season, hood mockingbirds gather in groups of up to 40 individuals, which forage together (5).Top
Hood mockingbird rangeTop
Hood mockingbird habitatTop
Hood mockingbird status
The hood mockingbird is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Hood mockingbird threats
The restricted range of the hood mockingbird is an intrinsic threat to the species. Events such as extreme weather or an introduced predator could rapidly affect the entire species, with devastating consequences (2) (5).Top
Hood mockingbird conservation
At present, there are no introduced predators on either island inhabited by the hood mockingbird. Efforts should be made to reduce the chance of any accidental introductions, as well as to minimise the risk of any disease being introduced to the hood mockingbird population (2) (5).
Although the hood mockingbird is not known to be receiving any specific conservation attention, the Galapagos Islands are designated a National Park and a World Heritage Site (6). The Ecuadorian Government and the international conservation community recognise the importance of protecting the islands' biodiversity, and this should also help this fascinating bird to receive the protection it requires.Top
Find out more
For more information on the hood mockingbird and other bird species, see:
For further information on conservation in the Galapagos Islands see:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
More »Related species
Play the Team WILD game
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.