Mistle Thrush: Characteristics, Habitat, and Feeding Tips

Mistle Thrush: Characteristics, Habitat, and Feeding Tips

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.

Mistle thrushes are mainly a UK resident and since the mid - 1970’s they have become a rare sight in British gardens, with the population falling by more than half, according to the ongoing ‘Breeding Bird Survey’ carried out by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

During the summer season, many thrushes gather in large flocks and can often be seen in woodland, parkland and gardens.  Only a few migrate to Europe for the winter.

They are great characters an 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).

It is a vigilant bird that tries to ensure food resources are maintained throughout the winter, guarding it against other thrushes.

They are 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 wind fallen apples and will readily consume bird food during cold snaps – especially Haith’s soft foodsHaith'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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