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Song Thrush


A popular garden songbird whose numbers are declining seriously, especially on farmland making it a Red List species. Smaller and browner than a Mistle Thrush with smaller spotting.

The Song Thrush breeds across much of Europe It is sometimes known as Throstle or Mavis. It has brown upperparts and black-spotted cream or buff under parts. They have a distinctive song, which has up to 100 individual musical phrases, and is frequently been referred to in poetry.

The Song Thrush breeds in forests, gardens and parks, an, like the Blackbird, is partially migratory, with many birds wintering in southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, and some not leaving Britain.

Although it is not threatened globally, and with 2 million birds in Britain, you would not expect it to be on the red list, but the decline is so rapid, that it is of great concern.

Snails are especially important when drought or hard weather makes it difficult to find other food such as, Invertebrates like earthworms, also fruit. The thrush often uses a favourite stone as an "anvil" on which to smash the snail. Young birds flick objects and attempt to play with them until they learn to use anvils as tools.

Quick Facts

Conservation Status UK

Status in UK
Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor

23 cm



Woodland, scrub, towns and villages

First Record
8th Century

Egg Size
27x20 mm

Egg Weight
6.0 g

Clutch Size
4 eggs

14-15 days

14-15 days

Number of broods
2 to 4

Number in Britain
2 million

First clutches laid
Late April

Age at First Breeding
1 year

Typical Lifespan
3 years

Maximum Recorded Age
10 years, 8 months

  • Formerly a common bird, even outnumbering the blackbird, the Song thrush is in a serious and little understood decline.
  • Poor survival is thought to be linked to newly fledged birds.
  • The song consist of vigorous simple phrases with harsh sounds and some mimicry of other birds song. Singing begins in January, but sometimes can be heard from November.
  • Often seen alone or in pairs although in winter may be in groups along with blackbirds and redwings.
  • They usually feed off the ground and smashing snails against a hard surface.
  • The song Thrush fly fast and direct accompanied with a short, sharp note.
  • In a good season the first brood could be on the wing by the end of March, and will have two or three broods.
  • Song Thrushes are unpopular with fruit farmers as they have a big appetite for the soft fruit.
  • It is estimated there are 1.1 million pairs in Britain.
  • Snails are an important part of their diet, especially in dry periods when worms are hard to find.

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