Back to list

Common blackbird

Turdus merula

Photo: Common blackbird
Weights and measures
Length from 23 to 29 cm
Biological data
Lifespan 20 r
Animal description
The Common Blackbird, scientifically known as Turdus merula, is a species of true thrush that is widespread across Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It has also been introduced to Australia and New Zealand. This bird is highly adaptable, thriving in a variety of habitats including woodlands, gardens, parks, and hedgerows. It is one of the most familiar birds in many parts of its range, known for its melodious song and striking appearance.

Adult males are predominantly black in color, with a glossy sheen that can exhibit shades of blue or purple in direct sunlight. They have a distinctive orange-yellow bill and eye-ring which make them easily identifiable. The females, on the other hand, are more subtly colored, with shades of brown and lighter underparts. They also have a slightly duller bill, usually brownish-yellow. Juveniles resemble females but are mottled with spots and streaks on their underparts.

The Common Blackbird is omnivorous. Its diet is impressively diverse, consisting of insects, earthworms, berries, and fruits. The bird's foraging behavior is a familiar sight; it can be seen hopping across lawns and under hedges, turning over leaves and debris to uncover hidden prey. In autumn and winter, its diet shifts more towards plant material, and it can often be seen feasting on fallen fruit in gardens and orchards.

Breeding season for the Common Blackbird begins in early spring. The male establishes a territory through song, a rich and fluty melody that can be heard at dawn and dusk, and sometimes throughout the night. The nest, constructed by the female, is a sturdy cup of grass, twigs, and mud, usually positioned in a bush or tree. The female lays three to five eggs, which she incubates for about two weeks. Both parents then feed the nestlings, which fledge approximately two weeks after hatching but remain dependent on their parents for a further few weeks.

The Common Blackbird is a sedentary bird in much of its range, though northern populations exhibit migratory behavior, moving southwards in winter to escape the colder climates. Despite facing threats from habitat loss, predation by domestic cats, and the use of pesticides, the species remains abundant and has adapted well to human-altered landscapes.

In culture, the Common Blackbird has held a place in literature, music, and folklore for centuries. Perhaps most famously, it is the subject of the Beatles' song "Blackbird," and its melodious song has been celebrated in poems and stories across its range. Its presence in gardens and the countryside makes it a beloved fixture in its natural habitat, appreciated by bird
Map of occurrence
Photo: Common blackbird - occurrence
New photos of animals