Blackbird, Turdus merula - Characteristics, breeding season and food in winter

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young blackbird
Between June and August, the young animals come to the so-called Jugendmauser when they have left their first feathers. They only get this a few days after hatching, because blackbirds hatch naked as nest stools. The first plumage is very delicate and hardly warms, which is why the nesting birds need the heat of the mother so as not to freeze.
Afterwards they lose these first feathers by a moult and get the so-called inhibition plumage. It is firmer in substance, but still very soft and pliable. At this stage, the male offspring is also called Stockamseln. Young birds born in spring receive the next plumage in late summer: the Progressive Dress. With this they leave the nest safer than with the escapement plumage. The following spring they also lose this plumage through the Mauser and get strong, dense and resistant feathers, as they have the adult animals.
Black-billed chicks usually grow in adulthood in August, provided they live in Central Europe. In colder regions, moulting takes place in spring, when it comes to migratory birds, and in warmer southern Europe moulting occurs predominantly in early summer. The first moult of the plumage of an adult bird, the blackbird experiences only after she has a brood behind him and raised the boys. The spring change extends for about three weeks.


From April and especially in the summer months, the song of the Blackwing is known to most people. This consists of creatively designed stanzas that contain a consistent melody. He sounds a bit complacent and is to be regarded as the normal song. Particularly striking, however, is the so-called Reviergesang. Two or three song waiters sing a song that almost exclusively consists of loud "Tix-Lutes". It takes place only among the male blackbirds, which sometimes change. The Reviergesang lasts about two seconds per stanza and extends over 20 to 30 minutes.
From early in the morning, often before the rising of the sun, they begin, repeat this at noon and are heard again in the evening before sunset. It takes place during the breeding season. Very typical of blackbirds is the alternating song between several blackbirds, which respond to the song of the conspecifics with almost identical sounds. This is called counter-singing.


Turdus merula finds its food mainly on the ground. There they are looking for animal food. Depending on the offer, they also use various food sources, such as berry shrubs or fruit trees.
The following food provides you with all vital ingredients:
  • worms
  • snails
  • Beetle
  • leech
  • be crazy
  • Insect eggs and larvae
  • aphids
  • Berries of elderberry, raspberries or blueberries
  • Fruits like cherries, pears and apples


In the first 14 days
  • Mother animal is brooding on the eggs and keeping them warm
After about 14 days
  • Slip
  • Naked body
  • Closed eyes
  • Closed ears
In the next five days
  • First plumage forms
  • Eyes open
  • The hearing develops
  • First feed calls of the boys
In the next four to five days
  • The inhibition plumage releases the first feathers
  • Boys leave the nest
In the following 14 days, the young are fed, despite the nest left mostly still further from the mother or father animal. The father only starts when the mother already has a new brood.


The black thrushes are both migratory and non-migratory. This means that some remain at their location and overwinter there, while the migrant trains fly to warmer regions.

migratory birds

The Zugamseln gather from late summer until the beginning of November and pull in a swarm especially in the direction of Turkey and Cyprus. However, some of them do not drive it into the distance, but change their location only from cold mountains in the warmer valleys or from Northern Europe to Central Europe. Between March and April, they then leave the warmer areas, fly to their old hunting grounds or look for new places to stay, where they spend the coming months until next autumn.

resident birds

Most of the sticks are birds that live in the city and breeding birds that laid eggs in late August.
Although the Turdus merula is getting more and more used to the colder weather conditions, it will take many more years before it will die so many of the cold deaths.


winter quarters
If the blackbirds stay over winter, they often meet end of August with fellow species and look for a suitable winter quarters. There they remain mostly after the onset of cold and rarely leave them. They cuddle up to each other and thereby warm each other.There are also individual animals to be seen, but have a much lower chance of survival in winter.
As optimal winter quarters, they usually choose:
  • Dense bushes
  • trees
  • shrubbery
TIP: Do not cut back your favorite plants and trees in the fall, as this will give the blackbird a chance to survive in its winter habitat. Lay the pruning until the end of the winter.
bodily function
The body function of the overwintering blackbird does not adapt to cold living conditions, as is the case, for example, with animals that fall into hibernation, hibernation or winter rigidity. On the contrary, because the cold tugs at their energy reserves, which is why they move very little in the cold months, so as not to spend more energy. Their energy or fat storage is relatively small, so they must go in search of food in winter.
A special problem in the frosty winter months is the greatly reduced food supply. Many fodder foraging has searched for winter a safe against predators district, died before winter or moved to warmer climes and the fruit and fruit season is long gone. Some seeds are sometimes found, but they do not dig up the blackbird, so they do not provide energy. Remain almost only larvae, which are often found under water surfaces and to which the black chokes are difficult to approach. Feeding by humans is necessary. This should be easily digestible food, such as tit dumplings or oatmeal. They also like to accept apple or pear pieces.
Although the Turdus merula is abundantly represented in Central Europe, of those who stay over the winter, only very few animals manage it, because they have been physically unable to adapt to cold temperatures. The official hunt for blackbirds or thrush in general, reduces the stock in addition, as well as the predators contribute their part, especially the eggs are not safe from them. It is all the more beautiful from spring to autumn, when they enrich from early in the morning crowded cities or in the countryside with their eye-catching song.

Video Board: Blackbird - Svartþröstur - Fuglar - Söngfugl - Svarttrast - Solsort - Koltrast.

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