Close this search box.



Key facts

Scientific name: Turdus pilaris
Status: Winter visitor, rare breeder

Breeding birds: 1 – 2 pairs

Wintering birds: 720,000

Conservation status: Red

Family: Thrushes

Length: 25 cm
Wingspan: 39 – 42 cm
Weight: 80 – 120 g
Typical lifespan: 2 years

What do fieldfares look like?

Fieldfares have a chestnut mantle, back and scapulars with some feathers having paler edges. The rump and upperstail coverts and grey and the uppertail is dark brown or black, and the flight feathers are black with lighter edges.

The underparts are mostly white but the breast has an orange wash with conspicuous black streaks. The flanks are pale buff with black spots, and the underwing coverts are white.

On the head, fieldfares are slate-grey from the forehead to the nape with fine black streaks. The lores, cheeks, malar and neck patches are black and they have a white supercilium. The chin is white with a pale orange was and thin black streaks. They have a yellow bill with a black tip, the eyes are dark brown surrounded by a feathered white eye-ring, and the legs and feet are dark brown.

Male and female fieldfares are similar but the female has less streaking on the crown the orange parts are duller and the tail is browner. The pattern on the flanks is less distinct and the bill is a duller yellow.

Juveniles resemble adults but are more uniform grey on the upperparts and they have buff streaks on the scapulars. On the underparts they have spots or chevrons instead of streaks which are darker.

Seen a bird and not sure what it is?

Try our interactive bird identifier

How do fieldfares breed?

Fieldfares breed between early April and late August. They nest in loose colonies of anything from 5 to 50 pairs, and although they nest in trees but there will rarely be more than 2 nests in a tree. They will also nest in gardens, hedgerows, or on the ground.

Fieldfares build cup-shaped, bulky nests made from grass, twigs, leaves, and roots, bound together with mud, and lined with fine grass and horsehair.

They lay 3-7 smooth, glossy, pale or bright blue eggs with brown or reddish-coloured marks which are incubated by the female alone for 10-14 days. Chicks fledge 12-15 days after hatching but still rely on their parents for food for another 2 weeks.

What do fieldfares eat?

Fieldfares feed on insects such as ants, beetles, crickets, and flies, as well as spiders, worms, and snails. They also eat plant matter including berries, seeds, grain, and fruit, particularly windfalls.


Where can I see fieldfares?

Fieldfares begin to arrive in the UK in October and start to leave again in March. although you may still see some as late as May.

Look out for them in the countryside and open fields and beside hedges, particularly hawthorn. In late winter they can be spotted on grass fields and playing fields and when it is very cold or snow covers the ground they will come into gardens.

What do fieldfares sound like?

Stein Ø. Nilsen/xeno-canto

Did you know?

Fieldfares will dive-bomb predators who try and approach their nest firing poo at them to keep them away.

Have you taken a picture of a fieldfare?

Share it in our bird spotters’ gallery

7 Responses

  1. Have had a fieldfare arrive today to feed on the apples we put out for the blackbirds. He (or she) is very aggressively chasing all the blackbirds away and looks like he’s “puffed up”. Is this normal behaviour.?

  2. I regularly feed birds all year round and I ordinarily impale apples onto a bush in my front garden which has proven popular with blackbirds, starlings & bluetits. An apple had been dislodged and early the following morning I was delighted to see a Fieldfare tucking into it. My local village shop sells bags of apples for a £1:00 and I’m now going through 2 bags per day as I now have 4 Fieldfares, several blackbirds & other species feasting on these.

  3. Just seen a pair eating from a mini apple tree in the garden, they have been there all day. I just couldn’t work out what they were, as I had never seen them before. But they are identical to this photo. Ma

  4. I have had 2 in my garden for over a week feeding on an Apple tree in Cupar, Fife. Wasn’t sure what they were but finally decided they were Fieldfares. Lovely bird.

  5. We had 4 in the garden today, we are surrounded by fields and have thick blackthorn and hawthorn hedges all around. Lovely birds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more birds


Manx Shearwater


Great Spotted Woodpecker

Common Rosefinch


Black Grouse