Belongs to: thrushes

Compare with: mistle thrush

Song thrush Turdus philomelos

BoCC Red list

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Familiar medium-sized brown bird with speckled front, known for its habit of smashing snail shells

Habitat: gardens, woods, heaths, fields, hedges

Widespread and still common resident, but much less common than it used to be


Brown back, white neatly spotted with black below, with yellow wash on breast; 22–24 cm

Hops and walks about on the ground feeding; perches openly to sing its vigorous song 

Eats worms, insects, seeds and berries, and snails when other food is scarce, smashing them on a convenient 'anvil'


Sings at almost any time of the year, starting in January when it establishes a breeding territory

Nest is a neat cup in a tree or bush; laying 2 or 3 broods from March to July

Between 4 and 6 pale blue eggs, speckled black, incubated by the female; fledging in 12–16 days

© David Harrison