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Mistle Thrush

A once familiar bird of farm land but now, like so many other species, declining and quite scarce.

Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

It seems to me that the mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus) is something of a forgotten bird. In my memory it was once quite common; forty years ago we used to have a pair nest every year in an ornamental cherry tree right by the entrance to our driveway. Even then we somewhat took them for granted!

Now you don't see them very often, no one ever seems to mention them, they have not featured on Spring Watch or Autumn Watch (as far as I can recall). When species that are causing concern because of falling numbers are talked about the mistle thrush does not seem to get mentioned. As I say, to me it is the forgotten bird which is such a shame.

Although similar in colouring to its more familiar close cousin, the song thrush, it should not really be confused. It is larger, more slender and more upright. Usually seen on farmland it was once common in parkland and gardens. Indeed, the orchard was its favoured home, especially one where the fruit trees had mistletoe growing on them, as the name suggests the two are linked.

The mistle thrush is also known as the stormcock in some areas because it will sit and sing from a high perch on even the worst of spring days!


Common Name Mistle Thrush
Scientific Name Turdus viscivorus
Species Group Birds Thrushes and Chats
Status Occasional
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

Taller, more upright version of the song thrush

Identification Notes
  • A bird that likes short, fertile pasture and can be seen occasionally in parks and gardens
  • Larger than the similar song thrush and with a distinctly more upright stance
  • Usually seen in small groups of 5-10 unlike the more solitary song thrush 
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