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Song thrush (Turdus philomelos)

Spotted in gardens, woods and fields, the song thrush is from the same family as the blackbird.

Comon name: song thrush

Scientific name: Turdus philomelos

Family: Turdidae (thrushes)

Appearance

Head: The song thrush has a brown head, with black eyes and beak.

Wings: This species has brown wings and back and is a little smaller than a blackbird in size.

Body: Song thrushes have a creamish breast covered in brown spots.

Not to be confused with

The larger, more greyish-coloured mistle thrush, which has very distinctive white corners to its tail. If the thrush you're looking at appears larger than a blackbird it's likely a mistle thrush. If it seems smaller, it's most likely a song thrush.

Where to spot

A resident breeder that is present all year, song thrushes are common in woodland, farmland, scrub, gardens and parks. As its name suggests, the species is a strong singer, with a distinctive habit of repeating song phrases.

Feeding

The song thrush diet consists of worms, snails, caterpillars and other insects, fruit and berries. The species is noted for its practice of smashing snail shells against rocks or concrete paths with a flick of the head. You will often see song thrushes hoping across the ground with their head titled to one side, looking out for their invertebrate prey.

Breeding

Nests are built in trees, shrubs or ivy and sometimes in sheds and outbuildings, and are made of dry plant stems with an interior of mud held together with saliva.

The clutch of four to six eggs is laid in the spring and hatches around two weeks later. Both parents feed the chicks for the next fortnight, after which they leave the nest but continue to be fed by their parents until reaching maturity.

Facts

  • Traditionally, song thrushes were known as throstles.
  • The species’ song is mentioned by a number of prominent poets and writers, including Wordsworth and Hardy.
  • The UK song thrush population has declined by 50% since 1970. The loss of feeding and breeding habitat, such as woodland and hedgerows, is thought to be a factor in this decline.

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