Galápagos mockingbird

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Galápagos Mockingbird
On Santa Fe
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Mimidae
Genus: Mimus
Species: M. parvulus
Binomial name
Mimus parvulus
(Gould, 1837)

Nesomimus parvulus

The Galápagos mockingbird (Mimus parvulus) is a species of bird in the Mimidae family. It is endemic to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador.


The Galápagos mockingbird is one of four mockingbird species endemic to the Galápagos Islands. These four are all closely related, and DNA evidence shows they likely all descended from a single ancestor species which reached the islands some time in the past. When John Gould first described the species in 1837, based on specimens brought back from the islands by Charles Darwin, he named it Orpheus parvulus. However, because of the rules of binomial nomenclature, Orpheus was declared a junior synonym, and in 1841, George Robert Gray moved all of the Orpheus mockingbirds to the genus Mimus. In 1890, Robert Ridgway created the genus Nesomimus for the mockingbirds found on the Galápagos Islands, and most taxonomists agreed. Recent DNA studies, however, show that the Nesomimus mockingbirds fall within the traditional Mimus genus, making the latter paraphyletic, so some taxonomists have moved them back into Mimus.[2]

There are six subspecies, each endemic to a particular island or islands:[3]

The genus name Mimus is a Latin word meaning "mimic",[4] while the species name parvulus is a Latin word meaning "very small".[5]


On Santa Cruz

Like all of the mockingbirds found in the Galápagos, this species is long-tailed and relatively long-legged, with a long, slim, decurved beak.[6]


Food and feeding[edit]

Like the other mockingbirds found on the islands, the Galápagos mockingbird is an omnivore; it eats everything from seeds and invertebrates to eggs, baby turtles and Galápagos sea lion placentas.[3]


The Galápagos mockingbird fights with other birds making it an aggressive bird, but it is known[citation needed] as a bird that does get quite close to people, seeming fearless. They are unique in that when the hatchlings are born, the juveniles help out with raising them. Another unique living style is that while living in communities, the oldest male holds responsibility for providing food for and taking care of the young ones. The fact of whether he is the parent does not matter, and he is usually referred to as the alpha male of the group.

The birds build their nests in trees and cacti. About two or three females in each group breed at a time, but it can range from one to several breeding females in groups sized from 2 to 24. The males in the groups that aren’t breeding are “helpers” and help the breeding females, but the females that are not breeding, hardly ever help out. This helping shows the influence of kinship.

Conservation and threats[edit]

On Santa Cruz

Although it has a relatively small range and its population has never been quantified, the Galápagos mockingbird is described as "common" and its population appears to be stable, so the International Union for the Conservation of Nature assesses it as a species of Least Concern.[1]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Mimus parvulus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Arbogast, Brian S.; Drovetski, Sergei T.; Curry, Robert L.; Boag, Peter T.; Seutin, Gilles; Grant, Peter R.; Grant, B. Rosemary; Anderson, David J. (February 2006). "The Origin and Diversification of Galapagos Mockingbirds". Evolution 60 (2): 370–283. doi:10.1554/03-749.1. 
  3. ^ a b Fitter, Julian; Fitter, Daniel; Hosking, David (2000). Wildlife of the Galapagos. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-691-10295-5. 
  4. ^ Jobling, p. 255.
  5. ^ Jobling, p. 293.
  6. ^ Swash, Andy; Still, Rob (2005). Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galápagos Islands: An Identification Guide (2 ed.). London, UK: Christopher Helm. p. 32. ISBN 0-300-11532-6. 
  • Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Names. London, UK: Christopher Helm. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. 

External links[edit]