Friday, 6 July 2012

Spots and Stripes

Having sorted out the variables in Blackbird plumages, now we can move on to separating Mistle Thrush from Song Thrush: two closely related species that sometimes cause confusion.  They both have distinctive songs, but at this time are quieter and likely to be out in the open, hunting down prey for themselves or hungry youngsters.

Compare the Mistle Thrush, above with the Song Thrush, below, both in a similar posture.  The Mistle is however more erect in stance, often referred to as 'barrel chested'.  Looking carefully at the Spots: The Mistles are blacker and rounder, more extensive on the lower belly and on a whiter background

The Song Thrush has a similar pattern to the underparts but with subtle differences: The spots are less extensive on the lower breast and on close inspection are shaped like arrowheads.  The Song Thrush has a lovely warm buff wash to the upper breast and flanks, contrasting with the white under belly.

Overall, the Mistle has a colder, greyer tone to the upperparts, compared to the warm russet tones of the Song Thrush.. great birds to see at any time.. and, they can sing!

Mistle Thrush

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