Mistle Thrush: Identification, Habitat, and Feeding Tips

Mistle Thrush: Identification, Habitat, and Feeding Tips

Thursday, 6th December 2018

The Mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus) is the largest member of the thrush family.

It’s a very distinguished looking bird; its upperparts are grey-brown, and its underparts are a pale yellow scattered with black spots, the long wings and tail have a whitish edging.

A mistle thrush standing on muddy ground.

They are great characters and can appear quite powerful and aggressive, and will often give their presence away by their distinctive ‘rattling call’ and this is usually delivered from a high perch at the top of a tree and can often be heard during a storm, hence its traditional name ‘Stormcock’ (due to country legends).
Mistle thrushes are mainly a UK resident and only a few migrate to Europe for the winter. They are a familiar visitor to our gardens and can often be seen in large flocks in open woodland and parks. They're a vigilant bird that will try to ensure food resources are maintained throughout the winter, guarding it against other thrushes.
Their diet is mainly insectivorous taking invertebrate worms, slugs, snails and various insects and are equally fond of berries, particularly those from the mistletoe plants (hence Mistle thrush).
In harsh weather, they will often take windfallen apples and will readily consume bird food during cold snaps – especially Haith’s nutritious soft foods. Haith's Prosecto Insectivorous Mix and Golden Chorus spread on the ground and Songster Food are accepted in prolonged spells of bad weather.

They’re a very handsome bird and a delight to watch.

Written by Tina Jakes

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