Speckle-breasted Song Thrushes are always a joy to see in the garden, and part of the reason these shy birds are so popular with garden birdwatchers is the delightful music they offer. The Song Thrush is so named because it has the largest repertoire of all European Thrushes, with varied songs and musical phrases, making up little tunes and repeating them over and over, quite literally ‘music to our ears!’ This admired bird is also the emblem of West Bromwich Albion Football Club, and was chosen because in the public house where the team used to change before and after each match, the owners kept a pet song thrush in a cage!
Length: 23 cm
Wingspan: 33-36 cm
Conservation Status: Red
A Song Thrush can be easily recognised by its brown upper parts and cream coloured, heavily spotted under parts. Some people confuse Mistle Thrushes and Song Thrushes, but Song Thrushes are smaller, have v-shaped spotting, a warmer tone to their plumage and a ‘kind’ expression on their face. Male, females and juveniles all look similar except juveniles have pale streaks on their backs.
Song Thrushes nest wherever there are bushes and trees, most commonly in woods, hedgerows, parks and gardens. They need somewhere that has moist soil with a good supply of earthworms and other invertebrate food. The female bird constructs a strong, bowl-shaped nest lined with mud and rotten wood. They produce 2 or 3 broods a year with 3-6 smooth glossy blue eggs which incubate for 12-14 days. Both parents feed the young but they become independent after about five weeks.
Song Thrushes eat worms, snails and insects when they are available, but in winter berries and fruit are their main food source. Earthworms form an important part of the Song Thrushes diet and when they cannot dig worms out of the ground anymore (when it has frozen, or in late summer when it is too hard) they resort to eating snails. They pick an unsuspecting snail, beat the snail shell on a rock until it cracks and gobble it up as quickly as they can in case a pesky Blackbird steals the snail! You are lucky to see a Song Thrush as they are withdrawn birds and feed under cover or close to it, unlike Mistle Thrushes that feed out in the open. To entice a Song Thrush to feed in your garden leave food on the ground near to bushes and undergrowth.