Song Thrush Turdus philomelos   [CL Brehm, 1831]

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Order: Passeriformes Family: Turdidae
BTO Codes: ST, SONTH EURING No: 12000
Number in Britain: 1.1 million Territories (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: Not a species of concern
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: hebridensis (RB), clarkei (RBW), philomelos (W) recorded in Britain (of 4 subsp. in the world)
Length: 23 cm Wingspan: 34 cm Weight: M/F: 83 g    
Scientific name from: L.: turdus=a thrush and after Philomela, in Greek myth, who was turned into a nighingale (from philos=lover + melos=song)
World Distribution: Europe & w Asia, INTRODUCED: Australia
Habitat: Woodland, scrub, towns
Diet: Invertebrates esp. earthworms, fruit, snails during drought/hard weather
TitBit: As its name suggests this bird is an accomplished songster, easily recognised by its habit of repeating phrases (each individual has about 100 to draw on); so much so that settlers took it to the Antipodes to remind them of home, although they did not thrive in Australia they are now one of the commonest garden birds in New Zealand.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos BTO ID Workshop

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: BirdTrends   
Regional Trends: Scotland   Wales   England   English Regions
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore    BBS Maps
British Population Size:
    Summer: 1.1 million Territories in 2009
    First Record: Recorded in Anglo-Saxon times [Fossil evidence from
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: RED because Recent Breeding Population Decline (1969-2007),
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 RED     1996-2001 RED  
   Races of Concern: hebridensis RED (International Concern), clarkei RED (Recent Decline), philomelos GREEN
UK Biodiversity Action Plan (Lead Partner: RSPB)
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    Most frequent in: Deciduous Wood
    Also common in: Scrub, Villages, Coniferous Wood
    And found in: Pasture Farmland, Towns
Relative Frequency in Each Habitat:
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
European Population Size:
    Summer: 14 to 26 million pairs   (Trend in Numbers)
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(III), WBD(II*), Bern(III), Bonn(II), NERC (41)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack
Results from Garden BirdWatch
Results from the Winter Farmland Bird Survey

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 27 x 20 mm Egg Weight: 6.0 g (of which 6 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 689
Clutch Size: 4 eggs 4.10 ± 0.67 (2 - 7) N = 5910
Incubation: 14- 15 days 14.18 ± 1.23 (12 - 16.5) N = 5910   by the: Female
Fledging: 14 - 15days 14.01 ± 1.15 (12 - 15.5) N = 6367 as: Altricial, downy
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Nest Record Scheme data
First Clutches Laid: 21 Apr (21 Mar - 21 Jun)
Number of Broods: 2-3(4)
See trends in Breeding Productivity
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.563 ± 0.007       
Juvenile Survival: 0.463 (in First-Year)  
Age at First Breeding: 1 year Typical Lifespan: 3 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 10 years 8 months 29 days (set in 1991)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: CC
Wing Length Adult: 119.1 ± 3.2 Range 114 - 124 mm, N =12726
Juvenile: 118.6 ± 2.9 114 - 123 mm, N =17201
Male: 120.1 ± 3.2 115 - 125 mm, N =2915
Female: 118.0 ± 2.9 113 - 123 mm, N =2063
Weight Adult: 74.95 ± 7.81 Range 64.00 - 90.00 g , N =10489
Juvenile: 72.53 ± 8.12 59.00 - 86.00 g , N =13969
Male: 77.69 ± 6.84 67.00 - 90.00 g , N =1669
Female: 71.02 ± 4.65 64.00 - 79.00 g , N =2339
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Gaelic: Smeňrach Welsh: Bronfraith
Danish: Sangdrossel Dutch: Zanglijster
Finnish: Laulurastas French: Grive musicienne
German: Singdrossel Hungarian: Énekes rigó
Icelandic: Söngţröstur Irish: Smólach Ceoil
Italian: Tordo Norwegian: Mĺltrost
Polish: Drozd spiewak (spiewak) Portuguese: Tordo-comum
Spanish: Zorzal común Swedish: Taltrast
Local Names: Mavis

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Simms, E. 1978 British Thrushes Collins, London [598.911 SIM]
   Sheeham, A. 1976 The Song Thrush Angus & Robertson
   Simms, E. 1989 The Song Thrush Shire Publications, Princes Risborough [Jour: S]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides