Blueandwhite mockingbird

Melanotis hypoleucus

TAXONOMY

Melanotis hypoleucus Hartlaub, 1852, Guatemala. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: White-breasted blue mockingbird; French: Moqueur bleu et blanc; German: Lazurspottdrossel; Spanish: Sinsonte Matorralejo.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

10-11 in (25.5-28 cm); 2.1-2.3 oz (60-63 g). Upperparts deep blue, underparts white apart from dark blue-gray flanks and vent. Facial mask black. Eyes deep red, bill and legs black. Juvenile dull blackish gray above and below with some white on underparts.

DISTRIBUTION

Southern Mexico (Chiapas), highlands of Guatemala, southern Honduras, northern El Salvador.

HABITAT

Open pine and oak woodland and scrub with dense under-storey, fairly humid at higher altitudes; at lower altitudes drier scrubland. 3,300-9,800 ft (1,000-3,000 m).

BEHAVIOR

Shy and retiring, usually found in pairs or family parties feeding on or near the ground. Song has a variety of repeated short musical notes, or a medley of whistles and harsher notes.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds mostly on the ground, sweeping leaf-litter aside with sideways movements of the bill. Food omnivorous; invertebrates, also berries.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Little known. Nest is a shallow untidy cup of coarse sticks, lined with fibers, placed 3-15 ft (1-5 m) above ground in dense thickets or saplings. Eggs light blue, unmarked, average two at higher altitudes, three at lower altitudes. Incubation by female, period not recorded; young fed by both parents, fledging period 14-15 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. In suitable habitat quite common; susceptible to habitat destruction and now very restricted in some parts of range (e.g., El Salvador).

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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