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Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)

Flocks of striking blue-headed fieldfares are a sure sign that winter is on the way.

Common name: Fieldfare

Scientific name: Turdus pilaris

Family: Turdidae (thrushes) 


Head: Fieldfares have a characteristic blue-grey head with a yellow beak.

Wings: The species has brown-grey wings, with white under flashes show in flight.

Body: One of the larger thrushes, fieldfares are slightly bigger than a blackbird. They have a blue-grey rump and chestnut back. Larger size and the distinctive blue head distinguish the species from the similar redwing.

Where to spot

Winter visitors, fieldfares begin to arrive in October, before flying back north at the onset of spring. They can be found across the UK and are often seen in large flocks in country fields.


Insects and worms are common prey, while fruit and berries are an important food source in winter, with hawthorn hedges are a favourite feeding area.


Only a handful of fieldfares breed in the UK, with the vast majority flying north to raise their young before returning in the autumn.


• Highly social birds, fieldfares may gather into huge flocks and often feed alongside other thrush species such as redwings and blackbirds.

• An estimated 680,000 fieldfares spend the winter in the UK, but just two pairs are thought to breed here.

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