Basic Characteristics of a Mockingbird

Understanding the characteristics of a mockingbird is only the first part of learning how to care for a rescued mockingbird. However, it is essential information to have as you will need to know that you really are working with a mockingbird. This is because these birds are quite different than other species since they were not created as domesticated birds. Instead they are actually considered an exotic bird.

Identifying Characteristics

Once a mockingbird is mature it will measure nine to ten inches (25cm) in length. Their plumage is light gray with white feathering on their underside and dark, long gray tail feathers. Sometimes there are also white splotches on their tail.

Hand Raising

Whenever you are hand raising a mockingbird you will want to create a “nest” out of a sturdy bowl that is two thirds full of shredded paper. This will need to be placed under a heating lamp and the paper will need to be changed daily.


During breeding time you will find that your male mockingbird will become quite restless and sing all of the time. This will usually happen between March and August. Mockingbirds will also grow aggressive during this time as they defend their territory. Once the blue, brown speckled eggs are laid the female will incubate them for 11 to 14 days. After they hatch, the male will also help take care of the babies until they are about 11 days old. These are the only health issues you need to beware of.


Mockingbirds have received their name because they are so good at imitating sounds like the barking of a dog, a piano or even an emergency siren. You may not even be able to tell the difference between the mockingbird and the original noise. They also have a large repertoire (between 25 to 30) of songs that they will sing on a regular basis. These songs are composed of other birds’ songs.

These birds are also quite territorial. So if you plan to allow your mockingbird out for some exercise, keep an eye on any other pets you may own. This is important because mockingbirds sometimes swoop down to threaten a dog, cat or another bird. While they are too small to do much damage to these animals, they definitely appear threatening and scary to your other pets.

What To Feed A Mockingbird

Once you understand the characteristics of a mockingbird and are sure that this really is the type of bird that you have, you may find yourself wondering what to feed it. You will find that baby mockingbirds eat every 15 minutes to half hour until they get older and learn how to free feed. In the beginning you will want to feed them baby food. Make this baby food by soaking dry cat food in water overnight and then adding pieces of apple, berries and grapes (fruit-based baby food also works well). Place this into a food processor with one tablespoon of a grain-based baby bird food and some vitamins for bird. After it is all mixed together and warmed to room temperature before using an eyedropper or syringe to feed him until his mouth stops gaping (opening for more food).

As a mockingbird grows older they will want insects (you can purchase mealworms from the pet store and crush them up), non-citrus fruit, dog food mixed with hardboiled egg yolks and berries.

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