Song Thrush

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Birds

iSong Thrush

Conservation status

Least Concern (LC)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Turdidae
Genus: Turdus
Species: T. philomelos
Binomial name
Turdus philomelos
Brehm, 1831

The Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) is a common European member of the thrush family Turdidae.

It is commonly found in well-vegetated woods and gardens over all of Europe south of the Arctic circle, except Iberia. They have also been introduced to New Zealand and Australia. They are common and widespread in NZ however in Australia only a small population around Melbourne survives. Many birds move south during the winter, although some western populations are resident. This species has also been introduced in other parts of the world.

Song Thrushes are omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects, earthworms, snails and berries. They often use a favourite stone as an "anvil" to smash snail shells against.

They do not form flocks, although several birds may be loosely associated in suitable habitat.

Song Thrushes, at about 22–23 cm long and 70–90 g in weight, are smaller than Blackbirds, Turdus merula. Sexes are similar, with plain brown backs and neatly spotted underparts. The breast is washed with buff.

They nest in bushes or hedges, laying four or five eggs (bright glossy blue with black spots) in a neat cup-shaped nest lined with clay. The female incubates for about 14 days; the young fledge in about the same time. Song Thrushes may raise two or three broods in a year.

The male sings its loud song from trees, rooftops or other elevated perches. The song characteristically repeats melodic phrases, as described by Robert Browning in the poem "Home Thoughts, from Abroad":

Hark, where my blossom'd pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops – at the bent spray's edge –
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!

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