Mistle Thrush

Length: 27cm

Wingspan: 42-47.5cm

Conservation Status: Amber

Description: The Mistle thrush is the largest species of thrush with a fatter belly, longer tail and smaller head. Both sexes are similar looking with a grey-brown plumage and bold spots on the breast, long wings and a white edged tail. Juvenile mistle thrushes are also similar but are spotted white on their heads.

Nesting: Mistle thrushes are found in most areas of the UK except very high, bare grounds. They live in woodlands, parks and gardens and build their cup-shaped nests in trees as early in the year as they can. The female mistle thrush does most of the work to build the nest with grass, roots, moss, leaves and earth whilst the males concentrate on gathering food. Mistle thrushes typically produce 2 or 3 broods containing 3-5 bluish eggs with red flecks which the female incubates for 12-15 days. Once the eggs have hatched both parents work together to feed the young and vigorously defend their breeding territories.

Feeding: Mistle thrushes mainly eat worms, snails, insects, and slugs. In winter they eat fruit for survival as well as berries from trees such as mistletoe, holly, yew, rowan and hawthorn. Mistle thrushes will defend berry bearing trees against other thrushes in winter to protect their food supply. They will occasionally visit gardens for food particularly if they are provided with their favourite food sources on a regular basis.

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