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Mistle Thrush

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


Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

Mistle Thrush: the storm cock

Post date: Wednesday, 27 April, 2016 - 00:00

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!


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

Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Mistle Thrush
Scientific Name Turdus viscivorus
Status Restricted
Interest Level
Species Family Thrushes
  • 01 - January
  • 02 - February
  • 03 - March
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
  • 12 - December
Preferred Environment
  • Farmland
Look for Taller, more upright version of the song thrush
Additional 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