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Mistle Thrush

Turdus viscivorus

Smólach mór

Status: Common resident. Additional birds arrive from the Continent in winter.

Conservation Concern
: Green-listed in Ireland. The European population is considered to be Secure.

Identification: About the same size as a Blackbird. Has a very upright stance in comparison to either Song Thrush or Blackbird. The face is white with some black markings, while the eye has a distinct white eyering. The crown, nape and back of the Mistle Thrush are plain brown. The throat and upper part are white with some black streaks. This is bordered by a brownish smudge across the breast, with the rest of the underparts white with black spots. The rump is pale grey-brown, while the tail is brown - the outer tail feathers being white. The legs are pink in contrast to the dark colouring of the Fieldfare.

Similar Species: Fieldfare, Song Thrush.

Call: The most commonly heard call is a loud, rattling “prrrrt”, usually given when a predator is spotted or another bird lands in a favoured berry tree. The song is very similar to that of the Blackbird, though less musical and the phrases are more widely spaced.

Diet: In winter, Mistle Thrushes feed mainly on berries and will vigorously defend a favoured tree from all other birds. Also feeds on insects and earthworms.

Breeding: Breeds throughout Ireland, though less commonly in the south. Mistle Thrushes are less frequently seen in suburban gardens than Blackbirds and Song Thrushes, favouring larger parks and rural areas.

Wintering: Irish Mistle Thrushes are resident, with some limited immigration of Continental birds.

Where to See: Common throughout Ireland.

Monitored by: Countryside Bird Survey & Garden Bird Survey. 

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