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European song thrush


With a body length of 20-22 cm, the song thrush is somewhat smaller than a blackbird and also appears more delicate and short-tailed. The wing length averages 80 mm. The average weight in winter is about 70 g, the minimum weight at the end of the breeding season is 60 g. If fat deposits have been built up at migration time, a song thrush can weight up to 90 g. The upper head is warm greyish-brown.

The top of the head is warm grey-brown, with a lighter over-eye stripe indicated, but usually only in the area of the forehead. The lore are dark brown and show a light speckling. The ear coverts are light brown. The nape, sides of the neck and front of the back are warm brown, the rest of the upperparts are greyish brown to olive brown. The chin and front throat are beige to cream, the front chest and flanks are overlaid with a yellowish brown colouration, which blends smoothly into the dull white of the rear chest and belly. The underparts are also patterned with blackish-brown spots, which are elongated and narrow on the chin and throat and become denser into a moustachial stripe. This is set off by an unpatterned, light-coloured edge towards the brown rein. Towards the belly the spots become larger as well as roundish fan-shaped and form implied rows. In spring they can look inverted V-shaped or heart-shaped. Towards the flanks they sometimes become lighter, on the underbelly more sparse. The rectrix and wing feathers are largely brown with a reddish brown, lighter outer plume. The three inner secondaries are often indistinctly light fringed. The greater and middle coverts bear a pale lace patch. The underwing coverts are rusty yellow and stand out clearly in flight from the otherwise rather greyish brown to grey underwing.

The eye is dark brown with a cream-coloured ring. The beak is blackish brown with yellowish underbeak branches. The feet are yellowish brown to brownish pink in adults and pinkish pearly in juveniles.

Sexual dimorphism is not pronounced. Only the average size of males is slightly bigger.

In juvenile plumage the upper side is warmer brown and shows an intense cinnamon yellow blotch on shoulders and back. The underpart is more yellowish than in adults, and the spotting on the underpart is less contrasting.

The song thrush can be confused with the mistle thrush, which is, however, one fifth larger, has a teardrop-shaped round, very coarse mottling on the underpart and is rather dull grey-brown above. The tail, which appears much longer, shows white tips on the outer feathers and the flight is wavy. The red-winged thrush is also similar, but smaller, showing strong fox-red flanks and the same underwing coverts in flight. In addition, the underpart is more streaky and the head pattern of light over-eye streak and light moustachial stripe is much more distinct.


The song thrush inhabits a variety of forest types, but shows a preference for conifers, much and dense undergrowth, shade and high humidity. Unlike other thrush species, it does not depend on forest edge habitats or open areas for foraging. It is particularly fond of spruce regrowth as a nesting site.

In the Alps and the low mountain ranges, it is particularly common in forests with spruce and silver fir. These can be pure coniferous forests, but also mixed forests with spruce interspersed and undergrowth. It is usually rarer in pure deciduous forests.

In the lowlands, it occurs in all types of forest except in beech woods without undergrowth and similar habitats. However, young spruce afforestations and moist, undergrowth-rich habitats such as riparian or moor forests are preferred. It also occurs here in smaller habitats such as juniper heaths, field copses, rows of poplars with undergrowth and the like. Since the beginning of the 20th century, it has also increasingly penetrated urban habitats such as garden settlements, parks or cemeteries.

The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singdrossel). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 14 December 2021