Gnatcatchers (Family Polioptilidae)
The 15-20 species of small passerine birds in the gnatcatcher family
occur in North and South America (except far south and high Andean
regions). Most species of this mainly tropical and subtropical group are
resident, but the blue-gray gnatcatcher of the USA and southern
Canada migrates south in winter. They are close relatives of the wrens.
These dainty birds are intermediate between "Old World warblers" and
wrens in their structure and habits, moving restlessly through the foliage
seeking insects. The gnatcatchers are mainly soft bluish grey in colour,
and have the typical insectivore's long sharp bill. Many species have
distinctive black head patterns (esp. males) and long, regularly cocked,
black-and-white tails. The skulking gnatwrens are browner, more thick-
set, and with proportionally shorter tails and longer bills.
Crooked Run Valley