British wildlife recordings
Turdus viscivorus : Mistle Thrush - Turdidae
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Old Dean Common, Camberley, Surrey: OS Grid Reference(488500,160500)
Williams, Aubrey John
Mistle Thrush, Turdus viscivorus
The song of the meadow thrush recorded on Old Dean Common, Cumberley, Surrey. The mistle thrush is a larger bird than the song thrush with grey-brown upperparts, a boldly spotted breast, and a very distinctive white underwing in flight. It is also known as the 'storm cock' since it often sings right through wet weather, in contrast to most other species. In terms of habitat, open woodland with tall trees that is located close to short grass for feeding is ideal for mistle thrush. The abundance of this habitat in Britain means the bird has a wide distribution. The mistle thrush favours beetles, earthworms, slugs, and snails for most of the year but will feed extensively on berries of yew, holly, and rowan throughout the autumn and winter. The nest is built from February onwards by the female alone, and in a good year, both parents can rear two broods of three to five chicks. The flight call of the mistle thrush is a very distinctive loud rattle and the powerful song is reminiscent of a blackbird with many repeated phrases and more pauses. The population of mistle thrush plummeted in the 1970s and 1980s for reasons as yet unclear, but this decline seems to have halted and there are currently 230,000 pairs in Britain.