Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula)


French: Merle noir German: Amsel Spanish: Mirlo común
Other common names: Common Blackbird

Turdus Merula


, 1758,

Europe = Sweden


Until recently considered conspecific with T. mandarinus (which see) and formerly with T. maximus and T. simillimus. Proposed race insularum from S Greek islands (Lesbos, Andros, Ikaria, Samos, Crete, Rhodes) considered indistinguishable from syriacus. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. m. merula Linnaeus, 1758 – Europe (except SE).
  • T. m. azorensis E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 – Azores.
  • T. m. cabrerae E. J. O. Hartert, 1901 – Madeira and W Canary Is.
  • T. m. mauritanicus E. J. O. Hartert, 1902 – NW Africa.
  • T. m. aterrimus (Madarász, 1903) – SE Europe, W & N Turkey, Caucasus area, N Iran and adjacent S Turkmenistan; non-breeding also Middle East.
  • T. m. syriacus Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1833 – islands of S Greece (N Cyclades and Crete), SW & S Turkey and Levant.
  • T. m. intermedius (Richmond, 1896) – W Altai#R and Tien Shan S to W & NE Afghanistan; non-breeding also Iraq E to S Afghanistan.
  • Introduced to Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand, subsequently present also on Lord Howe I, Norfolk Is, Macquarie I and Kermadec Is.

    Descriptive notes

    24–27 cm; mainly 85–105 g. Male nominate race is entirely black, with yellow or orange-yellow bill and eyering, blackish legs. Female is dull dark (slightly... read more


    Song, by male from elevated perch, a leisurely series of very mellow, slurring whistled phrases (up... read more


    Very broad range, from remote mountainous areas to busy city centres. Main and original habitat... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, mainly earthworms and insects and their larvae, also fruits and seeds and, occasionally, small vertebrates; highly flexible... read more


    Mid Mar to early Sept in Europe, usually from end Apr in both Finland and former Czechoslovakia; Mar–Jun in Canary Is, Mar–Jul... read more


    Sedentary, partially migratory and fully migratory, depending mainly on latitude. In N Europe,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common to abundant. Rather scarce breeder S Tunisia, common in N; abundant in Israel following major expansion of range and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 7 December 2019).