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Mistle Thrushes in Ireland

Mistle thrush

The mistle thrush is a pale, black-spotted thrush. It is large, aggressive and relatively powerful. It poses proudly upright with long wings and its tail has pale edges. It is quite likely to be observed high at the top of a tree, singing its fluty song.

It can be confused with the smaller Song Thrush but it is bigger and paler and has bolder spotting on its breast and belly.

In flight the Mistle Thrush usually flies at tree top height with several wing beats interspersed with short glides. The undersides of the wings are white.

Irish Name for Mistle Thrush

The Irish word for mistle thrush is Liatráisc.

Mistle Thrush Feeding

In winter Mistle Thrushes feed largely on berries such as such as yew, rowan, hawthorn and holly. They will often vigorously defend a favoured tree or bush from other birds - not just other thrushes.

They also feeds on invertebrates such as insects, earthworms, and slugs (but rarely snails).

Mistle Thrushes Nesting

Mistle Thrush eggs

Mistle Thrushes build a bulky grass-lined nest consisting of grass, roots, moss, leaves and earth. The nest is built by the female usually in the fork of a tree but it will also use shrubs and holes in walls.

The smooth, glossy pale blue eggs have reddish-brown spots, and are approximately 30mm X 22mm in size. Each egg weighs 7.8g of which shell makes up 6% of that weight.

The female incubates the eggs by herself. After the young hatch out they are fed by both the hen and cock.

Interesting Facts About Mistle Thrushes

Mistle Thrushes are some of Ireland's earliest breeders - laying eggs as early as February. It is thought that they get their name from a penchant for mistletoe, though it will aggressively defend any fruiting bush it happens across against any other encroaching birds.

Mistle Thrush

Scientific Name:
Turdus viscivorus



Irish Status:

Length: 27cm Wingspan: 45cm Weight: M & F: 130g

Call: Loud rattle 'prrrrt' when alarmed. Song is like that of the blackbird but less melodic.

Habitat: Woodland, scrubland, forest, urban areas.

Diet: Invertebrates, and berries in autumn and winter.

February to May
Breeding Age:
From 1 year
Number of Eggs:
No. of Clutches:
2 (occasionally 3)
Incubation (days):
Fledging (days):
3 years

Conservation Status in Ireland: Green

Mistle Thrush Range in Ireland

The mistle thrush is resident throughout Ireland.

Map of the range of Mistle Thrushes in Ireland.

Arctic Terns in Ireland - Blue Tits in Ireland - Coal Tits in Ireland - Goldfinches in Ireland - Great Tits in Ireland - Grey Herons in Ireland - Jackdaws in Ireland - Longtailed Tits in Ireland - Magpies in Ireland - Mallards in Ireland - Mistle Thrushes in Ireland - Mute Swans in Ireland - Pheasants in Ireland - Puffins in Ireland - Robins in Ireland - Rooks in Ireland - Song Thrushes in Ireland - Starlings in Ireland - Swallows in Ireland - Swans in Tallaght - Swans Oil-Damaged - Waxwings in Ireland - Woodpigeons in Ireland - Wrens in Ireland

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