Family Thrushes (Turdidae)

Least Concern

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)


French: Grive musicienne German: Singdrossel Spanish: Zorzal común

Turdus philomelos

C. L. Brehm

, 1831,

central Germany


Earlier name T. ericetorum invalid. Races intergrade. Race nataliae very similar to nominate. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. p. hebridensis W. E. Clarke, 1913 – W Scotland (Outer Hebrides, I of Skye, W mainland coast) and W Ireland.
  • T. p. clarkei E. J. O. Hartert, 1909 – W Europe; in winter also SW Europe and NW Africa.
  • T. p. philomelos C. L. Brehm, 1831 – Europe (except W), N Turkey, Caucasus area and N Iran; winters in W & S Europe, N & NE Africa, Arabian Peninsula and SW Asia.
  • T. p. nataliae Buturlin, 1929 – W & C Siberia S to Altai; winters in NE Africa and SW Asia.
  • Nominate race introduced to SE Australia, Norfolk I, Lord Howe I and New Zealand (including surrounding islands from Kermadec S to Campbell and Macquarie)#R.

    Descriptive notes

    20–23 cm; 50–107 g. Nominate race is plain brown above, slightly more olive-tinged on rump, weak buff spotting on wing-coverts, vague dark auricular bar and buff-... read more


    Song, by male, commonly (but not only) in relatively deep twilight, a very loud, vigorous, long-... read more


    Breeds in almost all types of temperate forest and woodland, generally in lowlands and valleys but... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates and berries. Animal food in W Palearctic includes adult and larval beetles (Coleoptera) of at least 15 families, adult and... read more


    Mainly mid-Mar to mid-Aug in W Europe, starting a month later in C & N Europe; 2–3 broods in C & S of range; introduced... read more


    Mainly migratory; populations in W & S of breeding range sedentary, partial migrants or short-... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common to fairly common; uncommon in Armenia. Total population in Europe in mid-1990s estimated at 14,127,336–18,470,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos). 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 23 January 2020).