Gnat-what?–Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Honest, this bird is a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher-but the latter part of the name is pronounced ‘nat-catcher’ with the ‘g’ silent. They are small, slender birds with bluish-gray feathers (yes, the ‘Blue-gray’ part of their name refers to their coloration). They have distinctive white eye rings and quite long blackish tails with white on the outer tail feathers.

They have a distinctive call that is described as ‘pwee’ or pzzz but I think of it as kind of a squeaky sound. You can listen to a variety of their calls on this National Audubon webpage

There are several species of gnatcatchers in North America but the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is the one found over a large portion of the lower 48 states and just a tiny bit of far southeastern Canada as shown on the range map below.

Gnatcatchers are very active little birds, flitting around leaves and branches of trees and shrubs. They are a challenge to photograph since they rarely stay still for a full second. As they forage for small insects they frequently flick their tails upward, a distinctive behavior for this family of birds.

The other species of gnatcatchers are as follows: Black-capped Gnatcatcher-truly a Mexican species that is a rare vagrant to the southeast Arizona area; Black-tailed Gnatcatcher-a species found in southwestern U.S.; and California Gnatcatcher-found only in southwestern California in the U.S. plus the Baja peninsula of Mexico.

  1. says

    Thank you for the information. I found it to have a lot of information. I have never seen one and did not knoe there were any in Indiana. ( I love Birds and Bloom mag. )

  2. says

    As I read this, several song birds are twittering at the feeders adding to the brightness of this sunny morning. Gnatcatchers, now these are more than welcome in my yard.

Add a Comment

From Our Community

Does anyone remember what to use………………?

for getting rid of ants and anthills.  If I remember correctly, it seems it was to pour vinegar on them.  Either white or the apple cider vinegar.   I…
Read more >

Fracking being linked to earthquakes!

Fracking is just bad any way you look at it, imo!  Except some property owners have benefited economically.  It scares me, to tell you the truth & there…
Read more >