A sweet singing garden bird with a taste for snails.
Close up of a perched Song Thrush
Song Thrush on a branch in its typical woodland habitat
Song Thrushes have a particular fondness for snails
20cm to 23cm
33cm to 36cm
50g to 107g
The Song Thrush has similar proportions to the Blackbird but is heavily blotched below. Continue reading to learn more identification tips.
The Song Thrush has uniform brown upperparts and cream-coloured underparts, heavily marked with black triangular spots. Their legs are pinkish, and their eyes are large and black. These insectivorous birds have a straight bill which is dark above but yellowish below and at the gape.
Adult males and females are similar, but birdwatchers can identify juveniles by their orange/buff streaked head, upper back (mantle), shoulders (scapulars), and upper wing feathers (coverts).
The Song Thrush is one of six thrush species in the United Kingdom.
Close up of a Song Thrush
Slightly smaller than a blackbird, the Song Thrush is a medium-sized garden and woodland bird. Let’s take a closer look at their dimensions.
The Song Thrush has a body length of 20 to 23 centimetres, including its tail and bill.
These birds have a stocky build with a deep belly. They can weigh anything between 50 and 107 grams.
Song Thrushes have a wingspan of 33 to 36 centimetres.
Song Thrushes are slightly smaller than Blackbirds
As its name suggests, the Song Thrush is an accomplished vocalist.
The Song Thrush has a rather interesting song composed of various phrases, each repeated two to four times. The male sings this song in low light at dawn and dusk. They also produce various alarm and excitement calls when confronted with intruders and predators.
Singing Song Thrush
Michał Jezierski, XC624237. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/624237.
The song thrush’s song can sometimes be heard up to half a mile away.
The Song Thrush is omnivorous and varies its diet with the seasons.
Song Thrushes are primarily insectivorous. Worms, caterpillars, and other insects are the most important food sources, but these birds have also learned how to eat snails. They are beaten against rocks and other hard surfaces to break the shell.
Song Thrushes rely more heavily on fruits and berries in the autumn and winter when insects are harder to find.
Both Song Thrush parents provide their chicks with small insects and other invertebrates. The young birds leave the nest after just two weeks or so but their parents continue to feed them for a further one to three weeks.
Song Thrush in the process of breaking a snails shell on a rock before eating
Would you like to learn where to find the Song Thrush? Continue reading to learn about their range and habitats in the United Kingdom.
The Song Thrush is a woodland bird that has adapted well to parks and gardens. They will also use forests, orchards, and hedgerow habitats.
Song Thrushes breed virtually throughout the United Kingdom and are only notably absent from parts of Scotland. They were also introduced to New Zealand and South Eastern Australia in the mid-1800s and are still present today.
Elsewhere, Song Thrushes are widespread breeding residents in Europe and Western Asia. Migratory populations extend into northern Europe and as far east as Northern Mongolia in the summer. These birds head south to winter in North Africa and the Middle East.
Song Thrushes spend their time in trees, shrubbery, and on the ground. Foraging birds are often seen searching lawns and leaf litter for insects, but they also collect berries from the branches of shrubs and trees.
Song Thrushes are commonly spotted in woodlands, gardens and parks
Song Thrushes were once an abundant bird in the United Kingdom. They are still fairly common, although the species has declined, mostly due to changing land use patterns and habitat degradation.
Many birdwatchers are fortunate enough to have Song Thrushes in their back gardens, but a visit to a well-wooded park or area of the countryside can be productive if you don’t have a resident pair in your neighbourhood.
Look out for piles of snail shells on the ground and listen out for the male’s distinctive song at dawn and dusk to narrow your search area.
The song thrush is more solitary and shy than other thrushes. However, they can grow to be quite tame. It has a fast, slightly jerky flight. When standing, they have a long-legged, upright stance. Males will usually sing from an exposed tree-top perch.
Song Thrushes are generally more shy than other Thrush species
Song Thrushes that live to adulthood have an average lifespan of about three years. However, some individuals live much longer, like the oldest known specimen that lived for nearly 14 years.
Song Thrushes are protected in the UK by the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981. They have an Amber conservation status due to significant population declines.
The Song Thrush is not endangered. These widespread songbirds are globally classed as a ‘Least Concern’ species.
Song Thrush gathering nesting materials (moss)
Song Thrushes breed from March to August in the UK. Read this section to learn some fascinating facts about their nesting biology.
Song Thrushes nest almost throughout the United Kingdom, even in parts of Scotland that are too cold to occupy in the winter. They build their neat nests in trees, shrubs, and creepers, or use artificial structures like walls and ledges.
The female builds the nest alone, using various plant materials like moss and twigs. Finally, she neatly plasters the inner cup with mud or clay.
Song Thrush eggs are a bright blue or blue-green shade, each measuring about 27 millimetres long and 20 millimetres wide. A typical Song Thrush clutch consists of three to five eggs.
Song Thrushes do not mate for life, although they are monogamous in the breeding season. It is possible that some pairs may reunite in consecutive years.
Song Thrush Nest
Juvenile Song Thrush
Song Thrushes are most often seen running in short bursts while searching for prey on the ground or among leaf litter.
Many thrush species show high levels of aggression, but the Song Thrush has milder manners. These birds defend their territories by singing, and they will turn up the volume when challenged by a competing individual in a neighbouring territory.
Song Thrushes sleep in sheltered positions like dense vegetation. They may roost in small groups in the winter.
Song Thrush having a drink of water
Song Thrushes are resident throughout the year in parts of their global range but undertake extensive annual migrations in others.
The United Kingdom’s Song Thrush population is largely sedentary, although some birds make short local migrations to nesting grounds in Scotland. Many birds from Northern Europe visit the UK each winter to escape the harsh conditions on their breeding grounds.
Song Thrush hunting earthworms on the grass
There are an estimated 1.3 million Song Thrush territories in the United Kingdom.
You can attract Song Thrushes to your garden by creating a suitable habitat for foraging and nesting. A combination of lawn, shrubs and trees, with a layer of leaf litter and mulch, will provide excellent foraging grounds for these welcome birds.
There are no specific collective nouns for the Song Thrush, instead, you can use general Thrush collective nouns such as:
This is a shy, medium to large thrush, similar in size and stance to the common Song Thrush found throughout Europe.
The only summer-visiting thrush to breed in Britain, Ring Ouzels arrive on their breeding grounds on upland moors and crags, particularly in Scotland and northern England.
One of six thrush species in the United Kingdom, the Redwing is a common winter visitor from Northern Europe.
Predominantly confined to Europe and Russia the fieldfare is a winter visitor to the UK. It is a large, spotted, mixed habitat thrush slightly smaller than the British resident Mistle Thrush but similar in overall appearance. During winter months in particular, fieldfares are commonly seen in large flocks in southern continental Europe and the UK.
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