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Song Thrush

Turdus phylomelos


The Song Thrush is one of the typical forest breeders, which occupies old-growth woodlands, shows low density in disturbed habitats and avoids degraded forests. Its population trend remains stable throughout the last decade, but its sensitivity towards disturbance tells importance of its monitoring to understand as conditions of the species as the state of its habitats.    


Throughout its distribution range the Song Thrush breeds in almost all types of temperate forests and woodlands, generally in lowlands and valleys, but also in the mountain types of habitat. The key features of habitat are patches of trees and bushes with small areas of open moist ground (grassland or litter-rich soil) supporting abundant invertebrate fauna.


Tends to forage more under bushes and trees, less in open, than do many congeners. Feeds close to cover on ground. Uses stones and other hard surfaces to smash snail shells, shelled snails smaller than 1 cm swallowed whole.



It has 3–5 eggs in clutch, greenish-blue with blackish-brown spots. Incubation period takes 10–17 days, averaging to 13·5 days. The nestling period takes 11–17 days with mean of 13 days.  


After fledging the young are fed by adults and that dependence is variable but generally short, for one to three weeks, partly dependent on whether further nesting attempt made.


Basically feeds on invertebrates and berries. Its animal food in Western Palearctic includes adult and larval beetles, flies, lepidopterans, neuropterans, bugs, orthopterans, hymenopterans, scorpion flies, earwigs, spiders, harvestmen, mites, woodlice, snails, slugs and earthworms. Plant food mainly includes fruits and seeds of barberry, dogwood, cotoneaster, crowberry, spindle, strawberry, sea buckthorn, and juniper.


Mainly late March to mid-August. Its territory size is variable with habitat. Nest a neat cup of grass, twigs and moss, thick hard lining of clay, mud, dung or rotten wood, often mixed with leaves, placed in bush, shrub or tree, often against trunk, also in creeper on wall, in bank or on ledge; more often on ground in summer than in spring., on average 2·9 m up in tree 7·4 m high; in Poland, mean height of 196 nests 2·5 m, range 0–8 m. 


The species is mainly migratory; populations in western and southern of breeding range is sedentary, partial migrants or short-distance movers over winter period. The species is recorded on passage from late August till November. Populations from Eastern Europe take more south-eastern direction, wintering from Italy to Cyprus, and those in European Russia and Siberia winter in north-eastern Africa, Middle East and Iran.  


The species has Eurasian distribution. The nominate subspecies - T. p. philomelos C. L. Brehm, 1831 occurs in Europe (except western), northern Turkey, Caucasus area and northern Iran; winters in western and southern Europe.


The species doesn't require specific conservation measures, however, it is important to keep continuing its monitoring in breeding grounds, as that provides necessary information on the population trend of Song Thrush in Armenia, as well as the level of habitat degradation and relatively on the forest management practices. Obtaining of such information allows development of early mitigation measures, and adaptive management of the forestry enterprises. 

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