Mistle Thrush

Mistle Thrush

Key facts

Scientific name: Turdus viscivorus
Status: Resident breeding species

Breeding birds: 170,000 territories

Conservation status: Red

Family: Thrushes

Length: 27 cm
Wingspan: 42 – 48 cm
Weight: 110 – 140 g


Mistle thrushes are the largest species of thrush with a fatter belly, longer-tail and smaller head than the song thrush. Both sexes look similar with grey-brown plumage and bold spots on the breast.

They have grey-brown upperparts, and pale edges on their wings. Mistle thrush’s eyes are dark brown, the bill is black and the legs and feet are yellow-brown.

Juvenile mistle thrushes look similar to adults but are spotted white on their heads.


Female mistle thrushes make the nest which is a bulky construction built in the fork of a tree but also in shrubs and walls. The nest is made from grass, roots, moss, leaves and earth and lined with finer grass.

Mistle thrushes lay 3-6 smooth, glossy, pale blue eggs with reddish-brown spots. The female incubates the eggs alone for 21-15 days. Both parents feed the chicks before they fledge at 16-20 days.


Mistle thrushes eat worms, insects and slugs as well as berries. Although mistletoe berries are an important food source on the Continent in the UK they are more likely to feed on berries from rowan, yew, hawthorn and holly.

Mistle Thrush

Where to see them

Mistle thrushes can be seen all year round throughout the UK. The can be found in woodland, parks and gardens and will form large flocks with other thrushes in July and August.


Tero Linjama/xeno-canto

Did you know?

Mistle thrushes are sometimes nicknamed stormcocks due to their tendency to defend their territories from tall trees even in the most dreadful weather.

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