The plumage of the males is solid black, the beak is strikingly light yellow to orange. In addition, males show a distinct ring around the eyes, the colour of which is similar to that of the beak, but can be somewhat brownish. This eye ring contrasts strongly with the dark brown iris. This eye ring is less distinct in the female, and the beak is also less conspicuous and light horn-coloured instead of yellow. The plumage colouration of the female is much more variable and predominantly dark brown, sometimes going into grey or reddish brown. The legs and toes of both sexes are dark brown. Compared to the smaller starling, which also has dark feathers and often stays on the ground, the blackbird has a much longer tail.
The blackbird originally preferred to live in the interior of moist, dense forests. Even today, it breeds in the dark locations of undergrowth-rich forests and forages on vegetation-free or short-grassed ground. In such a habitat, the blackbird's vision, which is exceptionally good for songbirds in twilight, is certainly an advantage. At the other end of the extraordinarily broad habitat spectrum today are the busy centres of large cities, so that because of this contrast the terms woodland and urban blackbird have become common.
Today, the blackbird occurs in almost all types of cultivated landscape. Its habitats include front gardens, parks and park-like areas, groups of trees and shrubs in industrial areas, meadows, bushy heaths and largely open fields, provided they are broken up with copses or shrubs. In addition to semi-natural, old forests, monoculturally managed forests are also colonised, whereby deciduous forests are preferred to coniferous forests. The blackbird also breeds in reeds. In all habitats, the birds, which forage on the ground, do not move too far away from vegetation providing cover.
By far the highest settlement density is achieved within built-up areas, often with four or more breeding pairs per hectare. In forests, on the other hand, the density is considerably lower, rarely more than 0.5 breeding pairs per hectare. In rural areas and villages, the settlement density is usually between that of towns and forests.
Mountain forests are also colonised by the blackbird. In the Alps, it occurs up to the timberline.
The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amsel). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 14 December 2021