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A common species of countryside and gardens.

Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

"Looking for trouble? You've found it!"


By far the most aggressive bird in our garden is the blackbird (Turdus merula); they are real characters and make garden bird watching fun. We usually have about five of them but if the weather turns cold we can have nine or ten. They seem to spend most of the day trying to protect their food supply from the others. They must use enormous amounts of energy shadowing their opponent, staying between it and their food, having the occasional flutter at each other. They chase round and round the garden, under shrubs and out again, up in to the trees and down again, into the water dish and out again, all energy, all action packed.


Being ground feeders they eat almost anything thrown on the ground but prefer fruit to seed. We supply them with fruity nibbles which we buy from the RSPB shop and they have been a great success and, at first light every morning we have a queue outside waiting for them to be put out. To try and avoid arguments we have to scatter them round different parts of the garden.


As the days gradually lengthen they will spend the evening on television aerials singing enthusiastically and claiming their breeding territory.


Blackbirds are the fourth most common species in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, their numbers seem to be stable.


Common Name Blackbird
Scientific Name Turdus merula
Species Group Birds Thrushes and Chats
Status Common
Interest Level
  • 01 - January
  • 02 - February
  • 03 - March
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
  • 12 - December
Look for

A totally black bird with a yellow beak

Identification Notes
  • The female is, of course, brown rather than black!
  • Common almost everywhere but not in flocks as they are agrresive towards others of their species
  • Numbers boosted in winter by migrants from Europe 
Primary Habitat
Preferred Environment
Look for
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Birds Thrushes and Chats