Mockingbird–Type A Personality–Are you one?

Posted: October 8, 2014 in World On The Edge

Northern MockingbirdSince researchers started studying Type A personality over 50 years ago, it’s become a household term. Most people now know that Type A personality characteristics have something to do with being competitive and work-obsessed, and can bring an increased risk of health problems, but it’s not always understood exactly what traits constitute “Type A Behavior”, or exactly how these traits impact health and wellbeing.

Think of a Mockingbird. Have you ever been attacked by an angry Mockingbird? It’s been called the noisiest, most  aggressive, small bird you will ever meet. They sing almost endlessly, even sometimes at night, and they flagrantly harass birds that intrude on their territories, flying slowly around them or prancing toward them, legs extended, flaunting their bright white wing patches. A regular Type A personality in birds!

But aren’t we often noisy, aggressive, or territorial, too, when someone threatens to take something from us that we believe is ours?

While the term “Type A” is thrown around often, it’s not always fully known what specific characteristics make up “Type A” personality, even among experts. For example, for some,the term applies to rude and impatient people. Others see workaholics as “Type A”. Many see competitiveness as the main characteristic.

According to research by Elizabeth Scott, Stress Management expert, the following characteristics are the hallmark characteristics of Type A Behavior:
• Time Urgency and Impatience, as demonstrated by people who, among other things, get frustrated while waiting in line, interrupt others often, walk or talk at a rapid pace, and are always painfully aware of the time and how little of it they have to spare.
• Free-Floating Hostility or Aggressiveness, which shows up as impatience, rudeness, being easily upset over small things, or ‘having a short fuse’, for example.
•Strong Achievement-Orientation
•Certain Physical Characteristics That Result From Stress and Type A Behavior Over Years, such as Facial Tension (Tight Lips, Clenched Jaw, Etc.)Tongue Clicking or Teeth Grinding, Dark Circles Under Eyes,
Facial Sweating (On Forehead or Upper Lip)

Let’s take another look at the Mockingbirds. They are aggressive throughout the year. Females typically fend off other female mockingbirds, while males confront male intruders. Males disputing territory boundaries fly toward each other, land near the boundary, and face off, silently hopping from one side to another. Eventually, one bird retreats and the other chases it a short ways. If neither bird retreats, they may fly at each other, grappling with wings and claws and pecking at each other. Mockingbirds are also territorial around other bird species as well as dogs and cats.

If we have the personality of a Mockingbird, we may need to tone it down fast–for health reasons as well as how our personality adversely affects others.


  1. I don’t believe I’m a Mockingbird. But I’ve always enjoyed the song by James and Carly. I’m more of a dove. That’s what my Beloved calls me anyway. And sometimes I’m a sparrow, because he watches over me.


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