I wrote about the Gray Catbird's mimicing abilities in my blog of 16 May 2010. For the past couple of weeks I have been banding very young catbirds. Indeed, the catbird above in in a dusky mottled juvenile plumage that I have infrequently seen (usually young birds, like adults, are more uniformly gray). Note also this bird's gray iris--this is another bird with gray eyes as an immature, eyes that change to a rich chestnut as a breeding adult.
One of the surprises of recent DNA research is the discovery that catbirds and other members of the family Mimidae are not related to thrushes or wrens. Apparently they are so closely related to starlings that some researches place catbirds and starlings in the same family, Sturnidae.