Species: Blackbird (Turdus merula)

Family: Thrushes and Chats (TURDIDAE)

Category: Birds

Location: NW

A. Birds

More extensive information on birds can be found in a separate blog post.

B. Thrushes and Chats (TURDIDAE)

Thrushes are predominantly unspecialised, omnivorous, ground foragers. Many are brown, the colour of turds, hence the family name. Most are monogamous, some being highly gregarious in the non-breeding season like our Winter thrushes, the Redwings and Fieldfares. Thrushes are melodious singers, and among the earliest contributors to the dawn chorus.

C. Blackbird (Turdus merula)

Blackbirds are mainly carnivorous on insects and earthworms but do take fallen fruit in the woodland and gardens they inhabit. They are resident breeders and Winter visitors, and at 5.1 million pairs in 2016 they deserve their conservation status of GREEN. Their loud repetitive alarm call is heeded by other birds and is also said to presage rain. Blackbirds are territorial, so to see two males together is a sign of harmony, and therefore a good luck omen.

Additional Information

Blackbirds - in poetry and song

The Welsh poet and Anglican priest R.S. Thomas offers some of the most beautiful lines about the blackbird in his short poem A Blackbird Singing (on the All Poetry website). After reading it, you may never feel the same about this bird.

The English poet Edward Thomas, in his even shorter poem Adlestrop (on the Interesting Literature website) hinted at some of these qualities when he used the blackbird as an expansive emotional trigger.

The BBC's Tweet of the Day episode on the Blackbird may surprise you. You can hear the territorial alarm calls of blackbirds as Chris Packham describes the autumn influx of these birds into our isles and the competition that this causes.



This female Blackbird is about to be released, having been ringed in Heene Cemetery on March 15th 2021. This was done by a registered bird ringer. (For more information about bird ringing, see https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/ringing/about.)