BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER Polioptila caerulea

This small bird was quite far back – and high up – in the coppice on the Delphi guest drive. The photos were distance shots, so not the best quality, but they do capture the little bird in full song. BGGs have complete white eye rings; males have a dark ‘monobrow’ which can just about be seen in the photo above. In a word, ‘cute’. They sound like this (you may need to wait for the clip (credit: Cornell Lab / RH) to load – or hurry it along by clicking ‘Play’ as it loads):


They build a cup nest on a horizontal tree branch. It’s a modern family unit – both parents make the nest, tend the eggs, feed the young, and teach them manners. They may raise two broods in a season.

BGGs eat insects and spiders, feeding in trees and shrubs. They can hover very briefly, but mainly they catch insects on the wing (‘hawking’). The tail is often held upright while defending territory. Or sometimes just because they can.

All the information you could want on this species can be found at the excellent OISEAUX-BIRDS.COM 

STOP PRESS checking back through my photos, I’ve found a (slightly blurry) distance shot of a BGG. I am adding it because it shows the bird with its characteristically cocked tail, often seen when perching (the bird, I mean) 

A very pretty BGG has recently been published on the superb Cornell Lab website, credited to Laura Frazier. It’s so cute – and such a clear image – that it deserves inclusion here 



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