Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Passeriformes / Muscicapidae / Turdus / Species
Turdis viscivorus - Mistle thrush (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Grote Lijster (Holland).
  • Grive draine (France).
  • Misteldrossel (Germany).
  • Tordela (Italy).
  • Zorzal charlo (Spain).
  • Dubbeltrast (Sweden).


Names for newly-hatched


Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases


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Species Author

Gordon McLeod

Species Editor

Debra Bourne

Major References

B162, B163, B164, B165, B166

Aviculture references:

(UK Contacts)

(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

  • --

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Chats and Thrushes.

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques


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Aviculture Information


Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length Head to tail:


  • 42-47.5cm


  • Male: 149-164mm (B162)
  • Female: 142-162mm (B162)
Adult weight General Turdis viscivorus viscivorus 100-150g (B162)
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Adult Bill Male Black, short and thin. (B162, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Eyes Male Black. (B162, B164, B166)
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Black. (B162, B166)
Eyes (Iris) Black. (B162, B164, B166)

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Adult Male Yellow. (B166)
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Yellow. (B166)

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Adult Male
  • Upperparts: grey-brown; rump grey-brown.
  • Head: head including crown grey-brown with cheeks paler grey with black spotting.
  • Underparts: whitish (yellow tinge) with black speckles. Throat white with black spotting. Abdomen rounded black spots.
  • Wings: short, broad upper flight feathers  grey with pale edges; underside (whole wing) whitish darkening to grey at tips.
  • Tail: medium, square. Upper and under: grey-brown with white margins.

(B162, B164, B165, B166)

Variations (If present) Paler and greyer plumage in North African race, Turdis viscivorus deichleri.
  • Upperparts: grey-brown.
  • Wings: grey, with coverts shorter and paler than adult.
  • Underparts: white with black speckles, shoulder to breast often has dark stripe.

(B164, B165)

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

Altricial, helpless, downy, eyes closed. (B166)

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Reproductive Season

Time of year
  • March to May. (B166)
  • Britain and west / central Europe: eggs laid from beginning of March, North Africa: late March, Northern Europe: late April to mid May. (B162)
No. of Clutches Usually two, up to three. (B162, B163, B166)

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Nest placement and structure

  • Territorial nesting.
  • Twig pile built in fork of tree or against trunk.
  • Occasionally on building ledges or cliffs.
  • Usually high in tree.
  • Large nest cup.
  • Outer layer of twigs, moss, grass and roots, loosely woven together.
  • Middle layer of compacted mud, grass and leaves.
  • Thick inner lining of fine grass and pine needles.
  • Conifers preferred.
  • 1-20m high.

(B162, B163, B164, B166)

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 3-5 (B162, B163); 4-5 (B166)
Range 3-6 (B162, B163)
Egg description: Smooth and glossy, sub-elliptical, 30mm in length. Pale blue or bluish-green with red-brown (sometimes purple) spots or blotches, markings may be more pronounced at the broad end of the egg.

(B162, B163, B166)

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12-15 days (B162, B163, B166)

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Synchronous (B163)

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12-15 days (B162, B163); 20 days (B166)

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Sexual Maturity

Males --
Females --

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Feeding Behaviour

Adults Feeds on ground, and in trees and bushes, and may also catch flying insects. (B162)
Newly-hatched Fed by parents, male only if female is brooding next clutch of eggs. (B163)

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By female. (B163)
Incubation By female (B163)
Newly-hatched Both bring food, unless female is brooding next clutch, in which case feeding is by male only. (B163)

Remain with adults for about two weeks after hatching. (B163)

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Social Behaviour

  • Small loose groups outside breeding season (mainly autumn).
  • Defend food resources (fruiting bushes) as individuals or pairs from October through winter months.

(B162, B163, B166)

Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

  • Monogamous.
  • Male sings in display from high perch, and chases female around territory when courting.
  • Wings and tail spread by male when courting on the ground.


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Predation in Wild


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Activity Patterns

  • Perches openly.
  • Hops and walks.
  • Takes off and lands from both vegetation and ground.


Circadian --

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Natural Diet


  • Invertebrates (insects, snails and earthworms) on ground, flying insects taken in flight.
  • Fruit and berries from trees and bushes, mainly in autumn and winter.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Western Palearctic and eastwards to about 100šE, south to Iran and north-west Himalayas. (B162)

Britain: Common and widespread. May be resident. (B165, B166)

Europe: Recently spread across Denmark, Norway, Hungary and Austria. (B162)


  • Variable from mostly resident or dispersive to migratory.
  • Northern and eastern populations migrate south for winter.
  • South and central European populations sedentary.
  • British birds generally migrate south in August to November, though juveniles and adults may form flocks to migrate as early as July.
  • Return to breeding areas in Spring is early (February).

(B162, B163)

Occasional and Accidental Iceland, Faeroes, Israel, Kuwait, Azores, Canary Islands. (B162)


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  • Gardens, heaths, woods, fields and hedges.
  • Breeding: pine woodlands, spread into lowland parklands and gardens.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Intraspecific variation

Geographical variation, clinal. (B162)
  • Turdis viscivorus deichleri (North-west Africa, Corsica and Sardinia)


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Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Common locally in Europe, west and central Asia. Increasing in North and West. (B163)

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats --

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Captive Populations


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