Blackbird

Blackbird

At a glance

Scientific name: Turdus merula

Status: Resident breeding species

Breeding pairs: 5,100,000

Wintering birds: 10-15 million

Conservation status: Green

Length: 24 – 25 cm

Wingspan: 34 – 38 cm

Weight: 80 – 125 g

Description

Male blackbirds have jet black plumage and an orange-yellow bill and eye ring.

Female blackbirds are brown, often with dark mottling on their breast and they have a darker bill than the male.

Juveniles are similar to female blackbirds but with more obvious mottling on the underparts and a dark bill.

From August, young male blackbirds begin to resemble adults, but will still have some brown in the wings and a dark bill.

Nesting

Blackbirds build cup-shaped nests from grass, roots and sticks usually bound together with mud and site them in shrubs or trees.

Breeding starts in March with 2-3 clutches of 3-5 eggs laid. The eggs are greenish blue with reddish spots and are incubated by the female for 12-14 days. Both parents feed the nestlings and they fledge after 10-19 days.

Feeding

Blackbirds will forage on the ground for insects and worms, often turning over leaf litter to pick through it.

From late summer to early winter they will often switch to a diet richer in fruit such as windfalls and berries.

Blackbirds are softbills so struggle to deal with tough seeds and grain but will eat suet, raisins and other kitchen scraps from the ground or a ground feeding table.

Blackbird

Where to see them

Blackbirds are found throughout the UK in gardens and the countryside.

Listen

Timo S./xeno-canto

Did you know?

A waveform of a blackbird song is on the cover of Kate Bush’s album¬†Aerial.

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