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Quiz about Its a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird
Quiz about Its a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird

It's a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird Quiz


The book and the film "To Kill a Mockingbird" have inspired millions of people, but how much do you know about the actual mockingbird? This quiz focuses primarily on the species know as the northern mockingbird.

A multiple-choice quiz by alaspooryoric. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
366,653
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
309
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
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Question 1 of 10
1. The mockingbird is a passerine. This means, of course, that it is a member of the order Passeriformes. What distinctive feature must the mockingbird possess if it is a passerine? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Mockingbirds are also mimids, meaning they belong to the family Mimidae. Members of this particular family are remarkable because of their vocalizations, particularly their abilties to mimic other sounds. Which of the following groups consists of other mimids? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. The northern mockingbird is the only mockingbird commonly found in North America and is the official state bird for a number of U.S. states. It appears prevalently throughout the United States and is certainly recognizable on sight. What are the colors of the northern mockingbird? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Northern mockingbirds typically form monogamous relationships. When choosing a mate, what characteristic does the female northern mockingbird prefer in her male? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. The northern mockingbird will often perform a noticeably interesting, if not strange, series of motions. While standing, it will halfway or fully open its wings in jerky intervals to show off the wings' white patches. What is the term for this behavior? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. The northern mockingbird is a rather intelligent creature, despite having a bird brain. Which of the following is an example of the northern mockingbird's intelligence, according to published research? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. The northern mockingbird is, of course, famous for its ability to mimic other sounds that it hears in its environment. Which of the following is NOT a sound that a northern mockingbird has been known to imitate? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. What is the northern mockingbird's purpose for vocalizing so many imitations of various sounds it hears in its environment? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. What is the northern mockingbird's primary diet? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. In the 1800s, the northern mockingbird nearly vanished from parts of the East Coast of the United States. Why? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The mockingbird is a passerine. This means, of course, that it is a member of the order Passeriformes. What distinctive feature must the mockingbird possess if it is a passerine?

Answer: four toes on each foot, three facing forward and one facing backward

This unique arrangement of toes allows passerines the special ability of perching; in fact, the birds in this order are often referred to as "perching birds." A special tendon in the bottom of the foot and the back of the leg automatically pulls the toes taut when a passerine is sitting so that the bird is able to perch securely without falling--even while sleeping. Sometimes, passerines are referred to as songbirds; however, this isn't really an accurate way to refer to them since other birds like crows and ravens are also passerines and are not really admired for their so-called songs.

In fact, Passeriformes is one of the most diverse orders of birds and consists of over 5,000 different species.
2. Mockingbirds are also mimids, meaning they belong to the family Mimidae. Members of this particular family are remarkable because of their vocalizations, particularly their abilties to mimic other sounds. Which of the following groups consists of other mimids?

Answer: catbirds, thrashers, and tremblers

The family name is derived from the Latin for "mimic," and as was pointed out in the question, many of these birds possess an amazing ability to copy many sounds they hear in their surroundings, including the songs of other birds. Another characteristic of the mimids is that all of the species in this family tend to build nests of bulky twigs that appear to be rather messily put together.
3. The northern mockingbird is the only mockingbird commonly found in North America and is the official state bird for a number of U.S. states. It appears prevalently throughout the United States and is certainly recognizable on sight. What are the colors of the northern mockingbird?

Answer: grey, white, and brown

The back and head of the northern mockingbird are grey, a color that sometimes fades to a small rim of slight brown before connecting with the breast and abdomen, which are white or a much paler gray. The northern mockingbird's wings are various shades of grey and are distinctively marked with a white patch and horizontal white bars that create flashes of white as the bird flies. Similarly, the tail is various streaks of grey surrounded by outer white featers that also flash in flight.

The northern mockingbird can be found throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, the United States, and the southern reaches of Canada.

It is the state bird of Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Florida, and was formerly the state bird of South Carolina.
4. Northern mockingbirds typically form monogamous relationships. When choosing a mate, what characteristic does the female northern mockingbird prefer in her male?

Answer: aggressive tendencies

While the male northern mockingbird must share in nest building responsibilities and often builds several nests at one time so that the female may choose the one she likes best, she will have chosen her mate before she is well acquainted with the male's nest building skills. Furthermore, both genders have the same colors and patterns, essentially meaning the male's markings and appearance are no more vibrant than the female's.

Instead, the female is drawn to her mate primarily due to the male's aggressive tendencies.

The more aggressive the male, the more successful he will likely be in protecting the nest, driving away predators, and foraging for food. Both genders tend to be naturally aggressive throughout the entire year, regardless of the season; the female chases away other females while the male chases away other males. Males will often fly toward each other and stop at a disputed boundary.

Then they will hop from side to side until one retreats while the other chases it for a short distance. If no bird retreats, they will fly at each other grappling with claws and wings while pecking at each other.

The males will also fly toward other birds of different species, including hawks and crows, regardless of size, and they have also attacked cats, dogs, and people. The female is drawn to this behavior, for the male is the primary defender of the nest. In fact, during some occasions when mating males have greatly outnumberd mating females, females have abandonded their monogamous relationships for a more aggressive male.
5. The northern mockingbird will often perform a noticeably interesting, if not strange, series of motions. While standing, it will halfway or fully open its wings in jerky intervals to show off the wings' white patches. What is the term for this behavior?

Answer: flashing

Because the white patches on the wings are quite visible during this flashing, one would think the purpose of this activity was to show off the patches. However, other mockingbird species give this same wing flash display, despite having no patches. Some have speculated that the technique is meant to scare insects out of hiding, making them easier to see and thus catch. On the other hand, this activity rarely has any effect on insects. Basically, no one knows why the mockingbird performs this activity.
6. The northern mockingbird is a rather intelligent creature, despite having a bird brain. Which of the following is an example of the northern mockingbird's intelligence, according to published research?

Answer: the ability to recognize a specific individual human being

According to a 2009 publication, northern mockingbirds were able to recognize an individual person whom they perceived as having threatened their nests at an earlier time. During a study, one person would approach a mockingbird's nest and make contact with it; other people would merely walk past the nest.

At a later time, the same people, the one who touched the nest and those who walked by it, would again move into the mockingbird's view. Remarkably, the mockingbird would select the one person out of the crowd who had touched its nest and attack that person.

As far as learning and mimicking other birds' songs, some male northern mockingbirds have learned around 200 songs over their entire lives; however, to claim they can learn over 600 songs is a ridiculous exaggeration.
7. The northern mockingbird is, of course, famous for its ability to mimic other sounds that it hears in its environment. Which of the following is NOT a sound that a northern mockingbird has been known to imitate?

Answer: the sound of a jackhammer

The northern mockingbird is one of the best mimics, and the male can learn around 200 different birds' songs in its lifetime. Interestingly, while these songs often deceive human beings, they rarely if ever deceive other birds. More amazing is the northern mockingbird's ability to mimic other animal sounds, such as barking dogs, squirrels, crickets, and treefrogs, as well as machines, such as car alarms, alarm clocks, washing machines, and squeaky wheelbarrows and gates.
8. What is the northern mockingbird's purpose for vocalizing so many imitations of various sounds it hears in its environment?

Answer: The male's varied repertoire increases his chances for successful mating.

According to Kim Derrickson, an ornithologist employed by the Smithsonian, a northern mockingbird's "song is the vocal equivalent to a peacock's tail." Apparently, the greater the number of songs or sounds a male possesses in his repertoire, the longer the bird has been alive; therefore, the female interprets a large variety of songs as an indication that the male is a survivor, a creature capable of thriving in the world of nature where predation, disease, and starvation are prevalent.

This is truly important because the male is the primary guardian of the nest and often fulfills the role of "parent" better than the female herself does. Furthermore, there is indication that constant singing heightens the male's testosterone creation and rekindles the female's reproductive system. Finally, as stated in an earlier spot of this quiz, most other bird species are not affected by the northern mockingbird's song; they seem to discern a difference. Thus, the "mocking" of the mockingbird is not a device to draw in or chase away other birds.
9. What is the northern mockingbird's primary diet?

Answer: insects, worms, seeds, and berries

The northern mockingbird is an omnivore, eating both plant products and other animals. They eat insects (beetles, butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, crickets, ants, wasps, etc.), earthworms, and sometimes even small lizards in the summer. However, in the winter, their diet turns mostly to seeds and berries, including those from ornamental shrubs.

Some mockingbirds have even been observed drinking sap from trees that were recently pruned. As far as getting water, they tend to drink from puddles, edges of lakes/ponds or rivers/creeks, or from rain or dew that has collected on plants.
10. In the 1800s, the northern mockingbird nearly vanished from parts of the East Coast of the United States. Why?

Answer: They were being captured and caged as song birds.

During the nineteenth century, so many people wanted caged mockingbirds that they nearly disappeared from sections of the United States. People would steal nestlings from their nests or trap adults and then sell them in larger American cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and even as far west as St. Louis. Records show that in 1828, some mockingbirds sold for as much as $50 each.
Source: Author alaspooryoric

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor guitargoddess before going online.
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