The State Bird of Arkansas

Northern mockingbirdArkansas has a lot to offer anyone who loves the outdoors. We have incredible forests that look like they were plucked straight out of a storybook. The Buffalo River, our nation’s first National River, brings thousands of visitors, not only from our own state, but from all across the country. Our forests and rivers make for some great hiking, climbing, and paddling, but they’re also the home to some beautiful and amazing wildlife, like the northern mocking bird.

Arkansas adopted the northern mockingbird as the official state bird back in 1929, but it’s also the official state bird of Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. The fact that so many states lay claim the mockingbird shows just how common the bird is. But common doesn’t mean dull. The mocking bird is quite an impressive little creature.

The mockingbird might not be as bright, or colorful, as some of the other birds out there, but it doesn’t need to be. The northern mockingbird is a simple and unassuming gray and white. They are typically gray-bodied with a white breast, while their wings are a darker gray with white bands. While other birds go for flashy and loud, the mockingbird takes a more modest and subtle approach.

But don’t let looks fool you. What the mockingbird lacks in gaudy plumage, it makes up for in vocal ability. Mockingbirds, literally mock sounds. In fact, its scientific name (mimus polyglottos) means many-tongued mimic. They can sing over 200 different songs, including the songs of other birds. They can also mimic the noises of certain insects, amphibians, and even some machinery.

Here are some more facts about the state bird of Arkansas!

  • The northern mockingbird is the only mockingbird that is common to North America.
  • It eats both insects and fruits, making it an omnivore.
  • A study done in 2009 showed that mockingbirds can identify individual human beings
  • Unlike many other birds, the males and females look alike (typically males have more colorful feathers).
  • Thomas Jefferson had a pet mockingbird

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