A Black-tailed Gnatcatcher is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Black-tailed Gnatcatchers. We have also put together a list of fun Black-tailed Gnatcatcher t-shirts, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird-watching items.
About Black-tailed Gnatcatchers
These tiny, insect-eating birds are widespread across northern Mexico and the arid areas of southwestern America. They are vocal songbirds that form pairs throughout the year and can be found perched in low shrubs. You can also find them in thorny scrublands that consist of cactus and ocotillo. Some of their distinctive features include:
Description and Identification
If one has to describe the Black-tailed Gnatcatcher as the name suggests these are tiny black birds with a
slender bail and a tail. Being one among the most active birds, Black-tailed Gnatcatchers are dark gray
and blackbirds have a neat white eyering and flashes of white on the end side of the tail. The breeding
males have a black cap that goes missing in the basic plumages. But, the blacktail is common in both
male and female Gnatcatcher. The tail also has some white at the end of the outer rectrices. The
average mass can be about 0.5 gm whereas the average length can be up to 11.4 cm.
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Color Pattern
These medium gnatcatchers have pale gray underparts and blue-gray upperparts. They have a black cap, bill, and tail. Female Black-tailed Gnatcatchers have whitish underparts and grayish upperparts. Unlike the males, females don’t have a black cap. Their blacktails have a white tip.
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Size
They are larger than Costa’s hummingbird but dwarfed by a black-throated sparrow. These small-bodied songbirds have a short, thin bill and a long tail.
The relative size of both sexes
- Length range: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
- Weight: 0.2-0.2 oz (5.1-6 g)
- Wingspan range: 5.5-5.9 in (14-15 cm)
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Behavior
They forage by moving actively in low shrubs hunting for insects to devour. In summer they hover over leaves picking insects while in winter feed among twigs and branches. Black-tailed Gnatcatchers rarely catch insects on the fly, unlike their relatives. These songbirds are easier heard than seen, thanks to their calls.
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Food
Gleaning insects from tips of branches are among the common food habits of the Gnatcatcher. They also
like to eat spiders. Other insects that the Gnatcatcher feed on include the wasps, ants, flies, moths,
certain grasshoppers, etc. They also like to eat berries at times. They are also supplemented with food
and trees. The water that is there in the body, is obtained from the food that the Gnatcatcher generally
The diet is mainly made up of insects. They feed heavily on a variety of insects such as ants, flies, caterpillars, moths, beetles, grasshoppers and when they catch larger insects, they beat them against branches before eating them.
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Habitat
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher usually likes to live in open areas. Deserts brush, ravines, dry washes, and the
mesquites. But these gnatcatchers usually have a home in the desert southwestern in the arid scrubs
mainly at the elevations of 7000 feet or above often found in the bush, saltbush, and some cacti such as
spiny hackberry, etc. Can also be found in the low acacia scrubs and at the open flats of the creosote
bush. Blacked-tailed Gnatcatchers are usually found living in pairs all year for forging in trees and in
defending their territory.
They are widespread in numerous dry, scrubby habitats such as desert brushes, mesquites, and dry washes. Also, they prefer the Sonoran Desert that has an abundance of acacia and mesquite growth. They favor dry habitats and live far from streams and other water bodies.
Range and Migration
Black-tailed Gnatcatchers a long-tailed insect eater and is also the singing bird and can be found in
North-Western and Central Mexico. If one is in search of these birds then it’s good to find the
Gnatcatcher if one walks through the desert scrub areas. They may be found in dense parts of the
vegetation. These types of birds usually make a zee-zee-zee sound and this sound can act as an
identifying element for the Black-tailed Gnatcatcher. They also give some harsh calls while foraging for
some small insects.
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Lifecycle
The females lay 3-5 eggs and the incubation is by both parents. It lasts for about 14 days and the young leave the nest after 10-15 days.
Black-tailed Gnatchatcher Nesting
As they live in pairs for all years, their nest can be found in the thorny branches of the leafy greens. To
protect their best from the strong sun they build their nest at places with plenty of vegetation. Both
sexes are involved in the best building prices and it takes a period of 2 to 4 days. They build it at a low
shrub in a vertical fork about 5′ above the ground. Their nest mainly is a deep cup of Woody fibers which
these birds line up with some plant down or the cactus cool etc. Their nest material includes plant fibers,
feathers, animal hairs, and other soft materials.
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Black-tailed Gnatcatchers
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Black-tailed Gnatcatchers are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher T-shirts
If you love the Black-tailed Gnatcatcher you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Black-tailed Gnatcatcher is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Black-tailed Gnatcatcher. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders for Black-tailed Gnatcatchers
There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.
Best Bird Houses for Black-tailed Gnatcatchers
There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.