Thrush (Turdidae)

BIRDS / PERCHING BIRDS /

 True Thrush, Genus Turdus

True thrushes are medium-sized mostly insectivorous or omnivorous birds in the genus Turdus of the thrush family, Turdidae.

Common blackbird (Turdus merula merula) Resident
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Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) Copyright Peter Drury

The common blackbird is 23.5 to 29 centimetres (9.25 to 11.4 in) in length, has a long tail, and weighs 80–125 grams (2.8 to 4.4 oz). The adult male has glossy black plumage, blackish-brown legs, a yellow eye-ring and an orange-yellow bill. The bill darkens somewhat in winter. The adult female is sooty-brown with a dull yellowish-brownish bill, a brownish-white throat and some weak mottling on the breast. The juvenile is similar to the female, but has pale spots on the upperparts, and the very young juvenile also has a speckled breast. Young birds vary in the shade of brown, with darker birds presumably males. The first year male resembles the adult male, but has a dark bill and weaker eye ring, and its folded wing is brown, rather than black like the body plumage.
This species breeds in woods and gardens, building a neat, mud-lined, cup-shaped nest. It is omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects, earthworms, berries, and fruits.

Mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus) Resident
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Mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus) Copyright Peter Drury

Common to much of Europe, Asia and North Africa. It is a year-round resident in much of its range, but northern and eastern populations migrate south for the winter, often in small flocks. It is a large thrush with pale grey-brown upperparts, a greyish-white chin and throat, and black spots on its pale yellow and off-white underparts. The sexes are similar in plumage, and its three subspecies show only minimal differences. The male has a loud, far-carrying song which is delivered even in wet and windy weather, earning the bird the old name of “stormcock”.

Found in open woods, parks, hedges and cultivated land, the mistle thrush feeds on a wide variety of invertebrates, seeds and berries. Its preferred fruits including those of the mistletoe, holly and yew. Mistletoe is favoured where it is available, and this is reflected in the thrush’s English and scientific names.


Song thrush (Turdus philomelos) Resident
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Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)

This thrush breeds across much of Eurasia. It has brown upperparts and black-spotted cream or buff underparts and has three recognised subspecies. Its distinctive song, which has repeated musical phrases, has frequently been referred to in poetry.

The song thrush breeds in forests, gardens and parks, and is partially migratory with many birds wintering in southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East; it has also been introduced into New Zealand and Australia. Although it is not threatened globally, there have been serious population declines in parts of Europe, possibly due to changes in farming practices.

 Thrush Gallery