Song thrush, a bird with a very complex song

The song thrush is one of those popular birds that get along more easily than they are observed. And again, thanks to her musical talents, she can trick your ears …

The song thrush, a pretty turdid

The song thrush belongs to this family of passerines called turdidae. They are birds with rather long and strong bills, and strong legs.

The song thrush usually measures between 21 and 23 cm in adulthood, has a wingspan of between 33 and 36 cm and weighs between 65 and 90 g. It has proportions very close to the blackbird, although a little smaller.

In the wild, Song Thrush is characterized by warm brown plumage on the upper body, yellow on the breast, and creamy white on the belly. Chest and belly are covered with small brown-black arrowhead-shaped spots. The wings are a shade close to the upper body with darker undertones towards the tip.

In captivity, 3 mutations of the song thrush have been observed:

  • The brown mutation is a light variant of natural plumage,
  • In the albino mutation, the bird is white with red eyes,
  • And in the satin mutation, the bird is like the albino but the eyes are black and the base of the feather is brown.

Where does the song thrush live?

The song thrush lives in very diverse places: open forests of deciduous or coniferous trees, bushes, parks and wooded gardens.

It can be seen roaming the lawns in search of earthworms, slugs, caterpillars and snails. It also feeds on insects, fallen fruits, berries and seeds including apples, elderberry, holly and rowan.

The song thrush population which occupies the northernmost part of Europe (up to the north of the Scandinavian peninsula) is migratory while the others, further south, are partial migrants, that is to say that only part of the population migrates, while the other remains.

During the wintering period, the bird invests the Mediterranean rim (Spain, Italy, Maghreb, southern Turkey, Middle East), that of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf (Iran in particular).

The song thrush can be observed in gardens and orchards in France. In our country, people stay there all year round. But she rarely goes to feeders as she is fearful. You can, however, try to attract it with a few apples abandoned near a hedge or bush. It is also known to respond well to calls, a technique used to hunt it. But on the alert at all times, she will flee at the slightest suspicious noise.

Why “musician”?

The song thrush is one of the best songbirds, but also one of the earliest. Making itself heard at the end of winter, it is then easy to hear since the other birds still do not sing much and its song carries far.

The bird gets its name from the richness of its song, which is more complex than most bird songs. Song thrush can develop several different patterns, each hissed three or four times in a row.

The complexity of its song is not the only characteristic of the song thrush. She is also capable ofimitate the song of other birds like that of the garden warbler. Only an expert ear is able to detect imitation.

Song thrush is a skillful bird

The song thrush eats the flesh of yew berries, sorting out the poisoned seeds that it does not touch, and that of the cherries that they peck to finally leave only the stone on the stem.

To enjoy snails, she has to break the shell. For this, she chooses a stone or a root. She carries the gastropod there and hits it on the hard surface until the shell crumbles. The bird is faithful to the tool it has chosen: you can see the debris accumulating there, which constitutes a reserve of calcium for other birds. The song thrush is the only passerine that does this.

The couple and their cubs

Couples only last one season. New couples are formed each year in March. The male sings to mark his territory and seduce the female. The songs are characteristic and can be heard at sunrise and sunset.

Once the pair is formed, the birds set about building the nest. It is made of dry grasses, stems and moss accumulated and lined with a mortar smooth composed of mud and agglomerated dead wood fibers.

The couple choose the branch of a conifer, a hedge or a bush as soon as the nest is 2-3 meters above the ground. A couple has between 2 and 3 broods per year, each comprising an average of 4 eggs of a pretty bright blue-green color, slightly spotted with black.

Brooding lasts between 12 and 14 days. The young are fed in the nest for 2 weeks after which they are able to fly. During the 2 or 3 weeks which follow, the parents continue to feed them, but on the ground. They are ultimately autonomous.