Song Thrush Bird (Turdus philomelos)

song thrush bird

The song thrush bird (Turdus philomelos), also known as the mavis in Britain, belongs to the genus Turdus and the thrush family of birds, Turdidae. The term song thrush refers to its clear flute-like song; in addition to its melodious voice, the song thrush bird is also distinguished by its beautiful plumage and its upright posture, which gives it an elegant appearance and makes it stand out among other species of birds.

Commonly referred to as the thrush bird, the song thrush bird is one of the best-known birds in Britain and Ireland, thanks to its melodious song and bright plumage. There are about 12 species of thrush found throughout most of Europe, Asia, and North America; this particular species – which you might also know as the garden thrush or simply the thrush – can be found all over Europe except for Iceland and parts of Spain.

It gets its name from the beautiful and melodious songs that it creates with its vocal cords to attract a mate or mark territory, though some people also refer to this bird as the songbird or simply thrush. This species of bird has various other interesting features, and you’ll learn about all of them here.

Scientific name

The scientific name of the song thrush bed is Turdus philomelos

Range and habitat

Woodlands, trees, bushes, and scrub near grasslands are common habitats for the song thrush. A large number of invertebrates and leaf litter attract them to moist areas.

Song thrush size

song thrush bird

The song thrush is a medium-sized bird with a length of about 20 to 24 cm (7.9 to 9.4 inches), a wingspan of 33 and 36 cm (13 to 14.2 inches), and an average weight of around 50 to 107 g (1.8 to 3.8 oz).

What does a thrush look like?

Song thrush birds have dark brown tops and cream or buff bottoms, and they have spots on their breasts and bellies. There is no difference between males and females in the color of their feet and legs. It is difficult to differentiate between the song thrush and its cousins, the redwing and the mistle thrush, due to the colors of the feathers.

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Difference between song thrush and mistle thrush

song thrush bird

There are a few main differences between the two birds, most notably songs thrushes have rounder heads and lighter breasts with upside-down hearts and arrowhead patterns. When first viewed, mistles thrushes appear gray and lighter.

In spite of their similar appearances, the song and mistle thrushes can easily be distinguished by their larger size and white tail tips. An 18 inches wingspan, 5.9 ounces weight, and 11 inches length make it a large bird. Mistle thrush spots are rounder and paler than those of song thrushes, another key to identification.


The song thrush is a type of bird that molts or sheds its feathers. They have different types of feathering on their bodies and they will shed their feathers in cycles throughout the year to keep their body temperature regulated and to get rid of parasites.

During molting periods they are susceptible to illness and can be hunted more easily by predators because their plumage is not as thick as it normally would be. Song thrushes don’t molt all at once but will lose feathers gradually during the course of a few weeks. In this time period, if they lose too many feathers, they won’t be able to fly properly and may die.

Nesting behavior

Their nests are typically found among climbing plants like ivy, against the trunks of trees with lots of cover, or even in old buildings with lots of protection. Grass, twigs, moss, roots, and mud are used by the female Song Thrush to build the nest.

Diet and foraging

This bird is an omnivore and eats insects, seeds, and berries. They also eat worms, snails, and other small invertebrates. They forage for food on the ground or on low branches.


The breeding season for the song thrush extends from early spring into late summer. This bird raises two or three broods a year. There is a monogamous relationship between a male and female song thrush.

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The male defends the territory of the female before she returns to the breeding area. The song thrush nest is carefully built by the female among the leaves of trees, creepers, or shrubs, or even among grasses and weeds on the ground.

An egg is laid by the female song thrush each day, laying a total of 3 to 5 eggs. There are a beautiful sky blue song thrush eggs with black or purple flecks.

It takes about two weeks for the chicks to hatch. Mothers are the only ones who brood chicks, but the two of them feed the chicks. Within a week, they are ready to fly, and about three weeks later they are independent.

During this period, fledglings are watched over by their father while their mother prepares to lay another clutch of eggs. In spite of this, chick mortality is high, and only one-third of them survive to fledge.


It is estimated that the song thrush bird has a lifespan of around 3 to 10 years.

Movements and migration

song thrush bird

The song thrush is a migratory bird that has two sets of different migrations. The first set occurs during the winter and spring months, which is when birds fly south to their winter habitat in Central America. The second set of migrations occurs during the summer and fall months when these birds migrate back north to their breeding grounds in North America.

Birds tend to stay within a small area while they are migrating as it saves time and energy; however, there have been some cases where the birds will go far distances before heading north again. Song thrushes are known for using forests and woodland areas for migration but can also be found in orchards, parks, and gardens.

The birds fly during the night, with a battle style described as both powerful and accurate. The birds also call to themselves as they fly by.

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Diseases and threats

The song thrush bird is endangered in the United States due to its vulnerability to habitat loss, lack of food availability, and introduced predators. These birds are also threatened by climate change which could cause a decrease in the quality and quantity of their food sources.

It is interesting to note that humans used to eat song thrushes as food. New Zealand, France, and Spain still allow the hunting of migratory birds. Other predators include owls, cats, magpies, squirrels, and sparrowhawks which feed on their eggs and chicks. Cuckoos often attempt to lay their eggs in song thrush nests, but the song thrush recognizes them and rolls them out.

Population status

Approximately 75,000,000 to 119,999,999 mature Song thrushes live in the wild, according to the Red List of the IUCN. There are 48,800,000 to 76,800,000 mature individuals in Europe, which corresponds to 24,400,00 to 38,400,000 breeding pairs. In the IUCN Red List, this species is presently classified as Least Concern (LC) due to its growing population.

Song thrush facts

A common songbird across the West Palearctic, the Song thrush breeds in many parts of the country. Its upper parts are brown, and its underparts are white with black spots. Three subspecies are recognized. A number of poets have referred to its distinctive song with repeated musical phrases.