cat·​bird ˈkat-ˌbərd How to pronounce catbird (audio)
: an American songbird (Dumetella carolinensis) that is dark gray in color with a black cap and reddish coverts under the tail and is related to the mockingbird

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The first green herons and Baltimore orioles of the season at several localities, two sandhill cranes in Worthington, a wood thrush and a warbling vireo in Pelham, and recently arrived gray catbirds in several locations. Isabela Rocha,, 22 Apr. 2023 The gray catbird, comparatively drab, compensates by singing a whisper song, or a lower-volume call that indicates breeding. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Feb. 2023 But the Big Ten’s oldest and best friend gets the biggest share of the new pie, and most certainly the catbird’s seat when Playoff expansion goes back on the table. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, 19 Aug. 2022 Hampden County: The area hosted a Barrow’s goldeneye on the Connecticut River in Chicopee, lingers included a gray catbird at Laughing Brook Sanctuary and a yellow-bellied sapsucker in Springfield., 29 Jan. 2022 Even so, an especially noisy bird was clearly audible among the leaves nearby, and a Merlin utility called Sound ID nailed it: a gray catbird. David Owen, The New Yorker, 13 Sep. 2021 Observers spotted a chimney swift and a gray catbird in Belmont and an orchard oriole in Needham., 17 Apr. 2021 By planting native flowers and grasses, bird watchers soon will begin seeing species like the indigo bunting, sparrows, pheasants, goldfinch and catbirds. Micah Walker, Detroit Free Press, 3 Sep. 2019 Another yellow-breasted chat was spotted along with a late gray catbird at the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston., 1 Dec. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'catbird.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1709, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of catbird was in 1709

Dictionary Entries Near catbird

Cite this Entry

“Catbird.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


cat·​bird ˈkat-ˌbərd How to pronounce catbird (audio)
: a dark gray American songbird with a black cap and a reddish underside of the base of the tail

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