Mistle Thrush

Mistle Thrush

Scientific name: Turdus viscivorus

Did you know: The Mistle Thrush is also known as the “stormcock” because it often sings loudly from treetops during stormy weather.

What Do Mistle Thrushes Look Like? (how to identify them)

Mistle Thrushes are robust birds, easily recognised by their upright posture and bold demeanour. They measure around 27 cm in length with a wingspan of 42-48 cm. 

Their upperparts are pale grey-brown, and their underparts are white, heavily spotted with brown. These spots form a unique necklace-like pattern around the throat. The tail is long with distinctive white tips on the outer feathers, and the legs are pale yellow-brown.

Differences Between Male And Female Mistle Thrushes

Male and female Mistle Thrushes are similar in plumage, making it challenging to distinguish them visually. Both sexes share the same size and colouration, with no significant differences in markings or hue.

What Do Mistle Thrushes Eat?

Mistle Thrushes have a diverse diet consisting of worms, slugs, insects, and a variety of berries, including mistletoe, holly, and yew berries. They are known to defend berry-bearing trees in winter to ensure a consistent food supply.

Where Do Mistle Thrushes Live? (inc. migration info)

Mistle Thrushes are found across Europe, temperate Asia, and North Africa. They reside year-round in much of their range, with populations in northern and eastern areas migrating south for the winter. In the UK, they inhabit woodland, urban and suburban areas, farmland, heathland, and grasslands, boasting about 170,000 breeding territories.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Mistle Thrushes)

The Mistle Thrush is renowned for its loud, melodious song, characterised by fluted whistles even in inclement weather. Their song is a series of short phrases, rich and tonal, often delivered from high perches. They also produce a rattling call, especially when alarmed.

Fun Mistle Thrush Facts (kid friendly)

  • The Mistle Thrush is the largest thrush species in the UK.
  • They are known as ‘stormcocks’ due to their habit of singing during stormy weather.
  • Mistle Thrushes can sometimes be seen defending food sources like berry-bearing trees against other birds.
  • They have a unique rattling call, often compared to the sound of a football rattle.
  • These birds are known for their fearless defence of their nests, even against humans or cats.
  • Mistle Thrushes often nest high in trees, sometimes up to 20 metres above ground.
  • They can have up to two or three broods per year in good conditions.
  • Their diet includes a variety of fruits, insects, and even slowworms.
  • Mistle Thrushes help in spreading mistletoe seeds, a plant they are particularly fond of eating.
  • In winter, they can be spotted in large flocks, especially where food is abundant.

Facts About The Mistle Thrush

Diet: Worms, slugs, insects and berries.
Bird Family: Thrushes
Length: 27cm
Wingspan: 42-48cm
Weight: 100-150g
Scientific Name: Turdus viscivorus

The Mistle Thrush Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Mistle Thrush Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile