Socorro Mockingbird

Mimus graysoni
Range Map

This bird is endemic to the island of Socorro in the Revillagigedos in Mexico. Because of their small population (less than 400 individuals), researchers consider the Socorro Mockingbird as endangered.

In February 2017, it was my privilege to accompany a team of scientist for a 19 day seafaring expedition from San Diego to the Revillagigedo Archipelago, over a thousand miles away, in the Mexican Pacific. Prior to its discovery by Spanish Explores in 1533, there is no evidence of humans ever visiting this island. Given its remote location nearly 370 miles from the Mexican mainland, and over 290 miles from the southern tip of Baja California, it is no surprise that we find species there that exist nowhere else. The Socorro Mockingbird is one such species.

When the science team visited the island, we learned these birds, and other endemics, such as the Socorro Towhee and the Socorro Parakeet preferred the habitat of the cloud forests on the upper slopes of the volcano that built the island eons ago. Our stay in the forest was too brief. We stayed a half day, but in those magical few hours, we met this, and other species and found nowhere else. Our retreat down the mountain came too soon for my liking, but we were guests of the Mexican Navy, and this was what we agreed to.

Further down-slope, nearer the coast, we found Northern Mockingbirds, but they didn’t seem to mix company with the Socorro Mockingbirds. When I heard the endemic bird’s song, it seemed unlike the familiar Northern Mockingbird’s song. Later, I listened to recordings of the Bahama Mockingbird, and I thought there was a similarity to the Socorro bird’s song.

Science considers the Socorro Mockingbird monotypic (i.e. no subspecies).

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