Breeding male © Sharif Uddin eBird S65827308 Macaulay Library ML 216006931
Female © Russ Morgan
Nonbreeding male © Adam Jackson
Breeding male © Louis Hoeniger
Breeding male © Bryan Calk
+ 4
Female © David Stejskal
Breeding male © Aaron Boone
Habitat © Jay Watson

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Polioptila melanura

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Tiny gray insectivore of scrubby areas in the southwest U.S. and northern Mexico. Breeding males show a black cap with a thin white eyering; nonbreeding males have a thin black line over the eye. Females lack any black on the head. Note tail pattern from below: mostly black with bold white spots. Prefers dry, scrubby habitats such as desert washes, where pairs flit around in the low bushes. Listen for harsh scolding calls. Compare with Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, but note Black-tailed often looks drabber brownish-gray, and has much more black on the underside of the tail.