This is a large, quarrelsome, noisy and active thrush from the Northern forests which is spreading Southwards and Westwards as a breeding bird. Birds breed far to the East in Siberia but most winter in Southern and Central Europe, Turkey and Trans-Caspia. They breed communally and mob invading predators using their faeces to deter them.
In the winter they often form very large loose flocks and prefer to feed on soil invertebrates. If it gets too cold and the inverts are frozen-in, this bird will turn in its thousands to windfalls in orchards and other fruit food. The call is an oft repeated 'Tchack, tchack' rather like a Magpie.
The bird has a very prominent grey rump, brown wings, a dove blue-grey head and dark and light brown throat and chest with heart-shaped spots on the breast and sides of the flanks. The British breeding population started from colonists 30 years ago and is probably less than 25 pairs - and very scattered.
A big brown and grey thrush with blue-grey head.
Length 255 mm Closed wing 145 mm Weight 110 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead