Blackbird

Handsome male blackbird

Turdus merula 

The blackbird is one of the most common resident breeding birds in Britain – along with its rivals, the wren and the dunnock! The handsome, jet black male, cuts a dashing figure in the garden, whilst the dark brown female can sometimes be confused with a song thrush. Like other members of the thrush family, the blackbird has a strong and beautiful singing voice and is a major participant in the daily dawn chorus. 

Blackbirds have excellent hearing, which they use to help them to find food. When you see them hopping about in the garden, tossing leaves around, apparently at random, they are, in fact, using their extra-sharp hearing to pinpoint the exact location of a delicious insect or worm.

Description: The male blackbird is unmistakeable, with his jet black plumage, long, black tail, yellow bill and yellow eye rings. The female is more thrush-like and has dark brown plumage, which is lighter underneath. She has a slightly mottled throat and a brown bill. The birds are 24-25cm (10 in long). They have a mellow, flute-like song as well as harsher sounds, like a noisy chatter that warns of predators. 

Nesting and breeding: The female blackbird builds a cup-shaped nest of grass, twigs and leaves, fixed together with mud, in a hedge, small tree or even on the ledge of a building! The breeding season is from late March to July and the female usually lays between 3 to 5 eggs, which hatch after about 13 days. The eggs are light blue/green with brown spots and there are usually two broods per year. The nestlings are fed by both parents and usually fly after 13/14 days.

Where to see them

  • Blackbirds used to be found mainly in woodland.but, as woodland has disappeared, they have moved into man-made habitats. 
  • They are now found widely in gardens, hedgerows, fields, parks, commons and heaths. 
  • What they eat

  • Blackbirds love worms, insects, caterpillars, slugs and other small invertebrates.  
  • From late summer to early winter, they like to feed on fruit and berries. 
  • Suet products, like fat balls and suet pellets, provide a vital energy boost during harsh winters and at other crucial times of the year..
  • Recommended Farbrook Farm products: Premium softbill mix, Dried Mealworms, Insect Suet Pellets, Berry Suet Pellets, Fat Balls
  • Blackbirds are ground feeders, so food should be sprinkled on the ground. Crumble fat balls first to make them easier to peck at.
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