Ring Ouzel

Scientific name: Turdus torquatus

Did you know: Ring Ouzels can fly at 18 days old, a remarkable feat for such young birds!

What Do Ring Ouzels Look Like? (how to identify them)

Ring Ouzels, charming residents of the UK’s uplands, are slightly smaller and more slender than Blackbirds. The males boast a distinctive look with their black feathers, pale wing panels, and a striking white breast band

These birds thrive in varied habitats, from Scotland’s sea-level regions to the soaring 1,200m heights of the Cairngorms. Their distinctive plumage and size make them a unique sight in the British avian world.

Differences Between Male and Female Ring Ouzels

Male and female Ring Ouzels exhibit notable differences in appearance. The males are predominantly black, highlighted by a conspicuous white crescent across the breast, which sets them apart. 

In contrast, the females are a subtler brown and may lack the white chest markings entirely, particularly in younger birds. This variation provides a fascinating insight into the species’ diversity.

What Do Ring Ouzels Eat?

The diet of Ring Ouzels is as diverse as their habitats. These omnivorous birds feast on a variety of invertebrates like insects and earthworms, as well as some small vertebrates and a range of fruits. 

Invertebrates dominate their diet during spring migration and breeding season, and they are particularly fond of juniper berries in the winter. This varied diet reflects their adaptability and survival skills in different environments.

Where Do Ring Ouzels Live? (including migration info)

Ring Ouzels are synonymous with the UK’s upland landscapes. These birds are typically found in steep-sided valleys, crags, and gullies, displaying a preference for rugged, mountainous terrains. 

Interestingly, their habitat choice varies significantly across their range – from coastal uplands in northern areas to continental mountains in the middle latitudes. They migrate south for winter, journeying to southern Europe, North Africa, and Turkey, showcasing their resilience and adaptability to different climates.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Ring Ouzels)

The vocal repertoire of the Ring Ouzel is as distinctive as its appearance. Males sing a series of plaintive, fluty notes from a low perch or sometimes even in flight, primarily at dawn and dusk. 

Their call, a loud ‘tac-tac-tac’, becomes harsher when alarmed, and a soft ‘cherrr’ serves as a contact call in flight. These unique sounds add an auditory charm to their upland habitats.

Fun Ring Ouzel Facts (kid friendly)

  • Ring Ouzels can mimic sounds they hear in their environment.
  • These birds are known to have several alternative English names, like the “mountain blackbird.”
  • They are capable of flying long distances during migration, crossing various countries.
  • Ring Ouzels have a special liking for juniper berries, making them crucial for dispersing these seeds.
  • Despite their small size, Ring Ouzels can be quite territorial.
  • They are known to nest in some of the UK’s most scenic upland areas.
  • Young Ring Ouzels are ready to fly just 18 days after hatching.
  • The white crescent on a male Ring Ouzel’s breast is a key identifying feature.
  • These birds have an average lifespan of about two years, but some have been known to live up to nine years.
  • Ring Ouzels have been part of UK folklore and culture for centuries.

Ring Ouzel 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

Facts About The Ring Ouzel

Diet: Insects and berries.
Bird Family: Thrushes
Length: 23-24cm
Wingspan: 38-42cm
Weight: 95-130g
Scientific Name: Turdus torquatus

The Ring Ouzel Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November