Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus)

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The Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) is a member of the thrush family Turdidae. It is found in open woods and cultivated land over all of Europe and much of Asia. Many northern birds move south during the winter, with migrating birds sometimes forming small flocks.

This species was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema naturae in 1758 under its current scientific name.The English name refers to its mistletoe eating, as does the scientific name, which is derived from the Latin words Turdus, “thrush”, and viscivorus meaning “mistletoe eater”.

The Mistle Thrush is the largest thrush native to Europe, being distinctly larger than the similar Song Thrush and larger even than the Common Blackbird. The species measures 25 to 30 cm (9.8 to 12 in) in length with a wingspan of 42 to 50 cm (17 to 20 in). Body mass can vary from 93 to 167 g (3.3 to 5.9 oz), with an average of around 115 g (4.1 oz). The sexes are similar, with plain greyish brown backs and neatly round-spotted underparts. The breast has much less buff than the Song Thrush.

It is omnivorous, eating insects, worms, small reptiles, seeds and berries. A Mistle Thrush will defend a berry-bearing tree against other thrushes in winter. Mistletoe berries are amongst its diet.

They nest in trees, laying several eggs in a neat cup-shaped nest lined with grass.

photo : Mihai BACIU


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