The Hood Mockingbird (Nesomimus macdonaldi) or Española Mockingbird is a species of bird in the Mimidae family. It is endemic to Española Island in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador and is a member of the Galápagos mockingbirds, four closely related species endemic to the island chain. It is found in dry forests and is omnivorous, though it primarily is a carnivore or scavenger. The species has a highly territorial social structure and has no fear of humans.
Similar to the other species of Galápagos Mockingbirds, this species has a mottled gray and brown plumage with a white underbelly. A long tail and legs give the bird its distinctive appearance. The species has a long, thin beak, useful for tapping into the eggs of seabirds. The species has the largest bill of any of the Galápagos mockingbirds. The species, along with the other Galápagos Mockingbirds, appears to be a descendant of the mainland Mimus longicaudatus, the Ecuadorian Long-Tailed Mockingbird.
Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical dry shrubland. Found only on Española Island, the bird can be found throughout the dry scrub of the island.
The species has an omnivorous diet, but is mainly a predator or scavenger. The species will eat the eggs of seabirds nesting on the island, as well as eat from dead animals and kills made by other predators, such as the Galápagos Hawk.
A Hood Mockingbird attempting to drink from a tourist's water bottle.
The bird is extremely aggressive and curious, and has no fear of humans whatsoever. The bird will chase after tourists in search of food, drink, or any unusual object. In some cases, the species will attempt to obtain water from tourists by pecking at their water bottles.
The birds have a strong social structure organized into family groups. Highly territorial, these groups will cooperatively hunt within their area as well as defend it against other groups. Lower-ranking members of the group will assist in caring for the young.
The bird is considered to be vulnerable in the wild by BirdLife International due mainly to its limited area. The fragile ecosystem and high risk of adverse weather conditions put the species at particular risk of population loss. It is estimated that there are fewer than 2,500 left in the wild.
- Galápagos Mockingbird
- Floreana Mockingbird
- San Cristobal Mockingbird
- ^ a b BirdLife International 2004. Nesomimus macdonaldi. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 26 July 2007.
- ^ a b c Horwell, David; Pete Oxford (August 2005). Galápagos Wildlife (2 ed.). Bradt Travel Guides. pp. pp. 45, 48. ISBN 1-84162-100-5.
- ^ a b Rothman, Dr. Robert. "Mockingbirds". Rochester Institute of Technology. http://www.rit.edu/~rhrsbi/GalapagosPages/mockingbird.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
- ^ a b c "Hood Mockingbird (Nesomimus macdonaldi)". BirdLife International. 2006. http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sites/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=6861&m=0. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
- ^ Harris, M. P. (1968). "Egg-eating by Galápagos mockingbirds". Condor 70:269"?70
- ^ Allen, Christina (1999-03-04). "The Hood Mockingbird". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/NATURE/9903/04/galapagos.quest/. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.