Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
Scientific name: Turdus philomelos
Common Names: Song Thrush, Thrush
The song thrush (Turdus philomelos) is closely related to the blackbird, but is slightly smaller and lighter – about 23 centimetres long and 70 grams in weight. Both sexes have a yellow-brown back and wings, and lighter underside with regular rows of tapered brown spots. Their song is a series of repeated notes and trills. Like the blackbird, thrushes were introduced for sentimental reasons and were soon considered a pest for damaging fruit.
Since their introduction in the 1860s and 1870s, song thrushes have colonised all major island groups of New Zealand. They are common in most habitats, except for intact native forest. Feeding Song thrushes feeds mainly on the ground specialise in eating snails, including introduced and native land and marine species. Using a rock, they smash the shell repeatedly until it breaks open. They also feed on, worms, slugs, insects, berries and small fruit.
Sexes are alike. Breeding is from June to January and more than one clutch is produced. The nest is usually low down, in shrubs and small trees. It is large and made of twigs, roots, grasses and mud, with the deep cup lined with a mixture of rotten wood and saliva. The eggs, 3-6, are clear-blue with black spots scattered mainly at the large end. Incubation 13-14 days, fledging 13-14 days. Nesting habits are similar to blackbirds, but thrushes’ eggs are clear green-blue with black dots.
A thrush hitting a snail on to concrete to break it open
Thrush chicks in their nest (These birds were killed by a cat)
A young thrush who has just left the nest. It still has tuffs of down above each eye. Click on image to enlarge.
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