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Bird Details

Perching Perching

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

Polioptila melanura

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
copyright Robert Shantz
Length: 4 in. (11 cm)
Pairs of Black-tailed Gnatcatchers are a common sight in open desert scrub where they are constantly flitting through the low vegetation moving their long tails up and down and side to side. They catch small insects and spiders on leaves and often fly up to hover and snatch insects off more inaccessible vegetation. The small cup-shaped nest is placed low in a fork of a small bush or tree. It is constructed of downy plant material and spider webbing. The male has a blackish cap during the breeding season but loses it in the winter. The four-digit banding code is BTGN.

Chaparral
Chaparral

Desert
Desert

Shrubs
Shrubs

Mesquite bosque
Mesquite bosque

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Male
Grating (sound type)
Bird Song
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Male
Grating (sound type)
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CR_BTGN_1_021602_S.jpg
Male
Grating (sound type)
Bird Song

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CR_BTGN_2_031702_S.jpg
Male
Grating (sound type)
Bird Song

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CR_BTGN_3_020704_S.jpg
Male
Grating (sound type)
Bird Song

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Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.