Blackbird (Turdus merula)
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A Blackbird foraging on the ground is a common sight in gardens. They feed on insects and earthworms, often turning over leaf litter to pick through any tasty morsels that may be underneath. From late summer to early winter they will often switch to a diet richer in fruit and berries. They are softbills so struggle to deal with tough seeds and grain so when feeding them in your garden, it’s best to stick to a specially formulated softbill mix and offer it from a ground feeder rather than a bird table. Live foods and suet pellets are a particular favourite of Blackbirds and they’ll soon learn to come back for more if you offer these.
The distinctive male cannot be confused with any other British bird. His plumage is jet black with an orange-yellow bill and eye ring. The females are brown, often with a dark mottling on the breast and have a darker bill than the male, sometimes almost completely brown. Juveniles are similar to the female but with stronger mottling on the underparts and a dark bill. From August, young males start to resemble adults, but will still have some brown in the wings and a dark bill.
The nest is built from grass, roots and sticks, often bound together with mud, and is sited in shrubs or trees. Breeding starts in March with 2-3 clutches of 3-5 eggs being laid. The eggs are greenish-blue with reddish spots and are incubated by the female for 12-14 days. Both parents feed the nestlings and they fledge after 10-19 days.