Song thrush Turdus philomelos

The song thrush is a small songbird, commonly found in parks and gardens, woodland and scrub. It is a familiar bird, brown above, with a white belly covered in black, drop-shaped spots. The song thrush is smaller and a warmer brown than the mistle thrush, and lacks the white eyestripe and red flank patches of the redwing.


Living up to its common name, the song thrush has a beautiful, loud song with repeating phrases. Widespread throughout Europe and as far east as Siberia, populations in the north are migratory, heading to Africa, whereas our song thrushes tend to be residents. Song thrushes breed from March until April, often producing three broods of up to five blue, spotty eggs.


  • Length: 23cm
  • Wingspan: 34cm
  • Weight: 83g
  • Average Lifespan: 3 years


Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Classified in the UK as a Red List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.


Widespread. Absent from north-west Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

When to see

January – December


  • Song thrushes will eat all kinds of food, but earthworms make up a large part of their diet. When the ground becomes too hard to get at them, song thrushes will eat snails instead. To get at the meat inside, they take the shell and crack it open by banging it against a stone ‘anvil’. This behaviour is unique to the song thrush.

Common name

Song thrush

Species name

Turdus philomelos

IUCN Red List status

Least concern

When to see in Scotland

January – December

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Thornton Glen or Falls of Clyde.

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