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Song Thrushes in Ireland

Song Thrush

The song thrush is one of Ireland's top 20 most widespread garden birds. It is smaller than it's relatives the Mistle Thrush or the Blackbird. The Song Thrush is also less upright when standing.

Male and Females are alike with warm brown upper parts, pale buff underparts with dark speckles and a tinge of golden brown on the breast. The speckles appear as arrowheads pointing upwards and are often arranged in lines. The belly of the Song Thrush is almost white with fewer, smaller dark spots than that of the Mistle Thrush. Juvenile Song Thrushes have pale buff streaks on their backs.

They have relatively large eyes, pale pink legs and the bill is brown. Unlike the Mistle Thrush, the Song Thrush usually flies low, below tree top height, from bush to bush.

Irish Name for Song Thrush

The Irish word for Song Thrush is Smólach (ceoil).

Song Thrush Feeding

Song Thrushes are somewhat omnivorous eating invertebrates including insects, especially earthworms, berries and other available fruit including apples.

One of the classic images of Song Thrushes is of them smashing snail shells on a stone to get at the snail inside.

However recent research suggests that they only feed on snails when other other food sources are unavailable. If the ground is baked hard, or frozen, and worms are inaccessible then snails feature in their diet. Blackbirds are known to rob Song Thrushes once they have done the hard work of getting the snail out of the shell.

Song Thrushes Nesting

Song Thrush nest with egg

Song Thrushes breed throughout Ireland - mainly in hedgerows and gardens however they also nest in trees, bushes, ivy, brambles and occasionally conifers.

The nest is built by the hen and takes three weeks to construct. It is a compact structure made of twigs, grass and moss, held together and thickly lined with mud, dung and rotten wood, often mixed with leaves.

Song thrushes will produce two or three broods each season. The female incubates the eggs however both sexes feed the chicks.

Interesting Facts About Song Thrushes

As indicated by its name the Song Thrush is an accomplished songster. It is relatively easily recognised by its habit of repeating phrases. Each individual Song Thrush has a repertoire of 100 to draw on. Settlers took it to Australia and New Zealand to remind them of home. The Song Thrush did not do well in Australia however they are now one of the most common garden birds in New Zealand.

Song Thrush

Scientific Name:
Turdus philomelos



Irish Status:

Length: 23cm Wingspan: 34cm Weight: M & F: 83g

Call: Clear, melodic and flute-like. Often repeating the same phrase over and over..

Habitat: Woodland, scrub, urban areas.

Diet: Invertebrates especially earthworms, snails, fruit including berries, seeds.

March to June
Breeding Age:
From 1 year
Number of Eggs:
No. of Clutches:
Incubation (days):
Fledging (days):
3 years

Conservation Status in Ireland: Green

Song Thrush Range in Ireland

The song thrush is resident throughout Ireland.

Map of the range of Song 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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