CLOSED: Probably a simple ID, but we're stumped

Frederick, MD(Zone 6a)

He comes daily to our "natural feeder". Which guy is this if you know please?

Thanks, Dea

Thumbnail by Dea
Marlton, NJ

Not sure but could it be a juvenile Mockingbird?

Frederick, MD(Zone 6a)

You're probably correct, as we have them in the gardens all summer - thanks so much !

Phoenix, AZ

Yes it's a mockingbird. I wouldn't call it a juvenile unless it's got juvenal plumage, i.e., spots on the breast.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6a)

Why thanks mags :)

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

I've never seen the "juvenile" stage but it sure is better-looking than the babies! lol

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

juvenal plumage

That's plumage described by a Roman poet, as opposed to plumage on a young bird

Phoenix, AZ

Resin, I don't mind a good challenge--but it wasn't I who coined this term. As a birder, you know it's widely used birding terminology. You are a very knowledgeable guy. (Are you a guy? lol) What is your educational background?

If one googles "juvenal plumage" (in quotes), there are 40,000+ results.

The following is from: ...

The first true plumage of contour and flight feathers is the juvenal plumage. It grows in over the feathers of the downy young. The bird in this plumage is referred to as a juvenile (note the different spelling). Some molt out of juvenal plumage almost immediately; others retain juvenal plumage until after they have migrated to their wintering grounds. Through either a partial or a complete replacement of its feathers, the juvenile molts into its first basic plumage. In some species, the first basic plumage is indistinguishable from that of the adult; thus, the only recognizable postnatal plumages are the juvenal plumage and formative, or adult-like plumage (e.g., Orange-billed Sparrow).

Aging in birds is defined by the progressive sequence of molts leading to the adult-type plumage. Most tropical species and many temperate species molt directly from their juvenal plumage into adult plumage within one to a few months after fledging. The vast majority of these species breed in their first spring. Other species, notably hawks and gulls, require more than one year to attain adult plumage. Some examples of the aging process are as follows:

Green Jay: Molts directly from downy plumage into a plumage that is indistinguishable in the field from adult plumage. It has no discernible juvenal plumage.
Orange-billed Sparrow: Has a distinctive juvenal plumage but attains adultlike plumage with its first molt.
Short-billed Dowitcher: Retains a distinct juvenal plumage through November, then acquires the adult-type alternate plumage by spring, well before the end of its first year. American Redstart: Retains juvenal plumage only briefly, followed by a molt into first basic plumage shortly after leaving the nest. Its first alternate plumage, acquired in spring, is recognizably different from that of the adult (this is especially noticeable in the male). It is not until late in its second summer that the young bird attains adult-type plumage.
Great Black-Hawk: Retains juvenal plumage through its first year, molts into its first basic plumage in its second year, and molts into its second basic plumage shortly after the beginning of its third year. It does not molt into adult-type plumage until it is nearly four years old.
Herring Gull: Retains juvenal plumage only for a short period after fledging and, through a process of protracted molts, proceeds through three basic plumages (three years) before molting into adult basic plumage in its fourth year.

The following is from ...

Juvenile or Juvenal: To avoid confusion, it is best to use these two terms as having the same meaning. It is the first covering of true contour feathers following the natal down(s), or in certain species it succeeds the naked nestling stage without the natal down. Juvenile has a precise meaning; it is the first immature plumage. The juvenile plumage is worn briefly in most passerines, but much longer in loons, hawks, gulls, shorebirds and others. In most birds, the juvenile feathers appear looser, woollier, and differently coloured and shaped than subsequent stages. Some authors use juvenile, but not juvenal, as having the same meaning as immature, just adding to the confusion. Other authors use juvenile as a noun and juvenal as an adjective. For example, the juvenile is in its juvenal plumage. However, both words can be used as nouns and adjectives. See also the definition of Juvenal in the section below under the Humphrey and Parkes terminology.

Juvenal: This is the first generation or coat of true contour feathers following the natal down or downs. Humphrey and Parkes (1959) retained the widely used term juvenal from the earlier North American literature. Juvenal refers to both the bird and its plumage; it is both a noun and an adjective. To avoid confusion, I recommend that juvenal and juvenile be used as synonyms. Use juvenal if you want to be sure of not being misunderstood.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Informative, but lengthy and space consuming, but apparently right. Is this what constantly goes on when people just try to discuss birds? I've seen so much of it that I just stayed in my one favorite forum, and that's not really fair to me or anyone else. I am NOT a fan of "can't we all just get along" because we can't, but can't we just not take up an entire thread with personal jabs. Whether they are playful or not is not known to the casual reader, but they are annoying.

Marlton, NJ

Chill Time Please

Heres a Mock I "thought" was a juvie but I guess not. Really wish I could get them to come closer. Their usually on the outskirts of the yard.

Thumbnail by pelletory
Frederick, MD(Zone 6a)

I wish I had never posted the photo :(


Marlton, NJ

Oh please don't worry about it Dea! If it weren't that, it would be something else. Just human nature.

Please turn that frown upside down! (talk about a corny phrase)

Phoenix, AZ

Hey guys... I'm *not* upset, not miffed--not in the least. If I misuse a word, I'd prefer to know :) I've respected Resin's contributions re birds because he or she (?) obviously has a great deal of experience. I've wondered what his (or her) background is for quite a while, especially with the literary knowledge. If what I wrote sounded sarcastic, it was not meant to.

edited to add: If one is interested in birding, I wouldn't think the explanations/definitions of this terminology to be inappropriate~?

This message was edited Jan 6, 2007 6:15 PM

North Little Rock, AR(Zone 7b)

Dea, Pell, both of the photos are great!

Marlton, NJ

Dea, Where are you? :-) :-)

Thanks Duckmother!

North Little Rock, AR(Zone 7b)

Well, mag, you taught me something. I am one of those that thought both words meant the same thing.

West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

Somehow, I doubt Resin considers being called knowledgeable a personal jab. I like learning about birds and discussing them. That's why we have a forum, isn't it?

Thanks for your posts everyone!

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

I just love mockingbirds....actually I consider them my favorites...and they seem to be everywhere here in Texas...our state bird. :) It is always a relaxing challenge to try to identify all of the different area birds that you can hear in a mockingbird's assorted songs. Thanks for that wonderful info..magpied..I just learned alot of interesting facts. :) And thanks for those photos, guys. Keep them coming. .... :)


Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

I love learning and chatting but I just can't deal with the gigantic posts. I don't have time to read thru them so I end up just not being able to continue with the threads. I didn't think the jab was taken at Resin, and like I said I have no idea if it's playful or not since I never can stay with a thread long enough to figure anyone out. Maybe I'll just stick to looking at the pictures.

Savannah, MO(Zone 5b)

Dea I like your mockingbird sitting in the shrub. I took a picture of one from my feeder and have it blown up and on my screensaver. They love pieces of apple added to the feeder! Just wonder if it was feeding on those small berries on that shrub?


Marlton, NJ

I definitely have to get a hanging platform feeder; maybe I'll be able to entice the Mocks in with various fruits.

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Hi Magpied,

but it wasn't I who coined this term

I know; it was a dig at Humphrey & Parkes for their awful mangling of the English language ;-)

Use juvenal if you want to be sure of not being misunderstood

Have to say I'd disagree there - over here at least, 'Juvenal' is taken as either the Roman poet, or else a bad spelling error if the term 'juvenile' is intended . . . Humphrey and Parkes really ought to have known better!


From The Birds of the Western Palearctic:

Thumbnail by Resin
West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

In my dictionary, Juvenal is the Roman poet. But I see the Sibley books are using 'juvenal', too.

English is a funny language, and American English is even funnier. :0)

Phoenix, AZ

Oh yeaaah, words are just a laugh a minute. ;-)
The use of 'juvenal' precedes Humphrey & Parkes, I believe. Ummm, Resin... Would it kill ya' to shed a little light upon yourself? LOL Are you male or female? Are you in breeding plumage? ROFL!!!!! (Sorry, cracking myself up.)

Let us not forget that there are many words not included in our standard dictionaries--e.g., medical terms. It isn't only the mangled words that are omitted. ;-)

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