The song thrush differs from the blackbird and mistle thrush in both size and posture, as it is smaller and stands less upright.
Both the male and the female look very similar, with brown uppers, pale, speckled under parts and just a hint of golden brown around the breast area. They have light pink legs and brown bills. They also sport small dark spots on their white bellies. As with other ground-feeding woodland birds, such as robins, the song thrush has largish eyes. The juveniles can be identified by the pale buff streaks across their backs.
Unlike the mistle thrush, song thrushes will usually stick to low-level flying, below tree height and between bushes. They will often sit absolutely motionless for quite some time within the bushes or another carefully chosen spot.
The song thrush has a distinctive song which it likes to project across the garden from a nice prominent perch. It is repetitive but very clear. For many, it’s a favourite.
The song thrush enjoys insects, worms and berries. They will also feed on snails if access to worms is limited due to the ground being hard or frozen.
If you are putting out wild bird seed, also supply some soft fruit such as raisins and apples, which song thrushes love. They are ground feeders, so it is a good idea to place these goodies on a ground tray. They like to feed near close cover and will frequently be spotted running to collect scraps before running back to their cover, where they will enjoy the treat in seclusion and away from prying eyes.
Always remove any remaining wild bird seed or other scraps provided before it gets dark, as leaving them out can attract rats and other unwelcome visitors to the garden.
Song thrushes will choose a shady location, in or near trees or bushes. The female will construct the nest by fashioning earth, twigs and grass into a cup shape. Song thrushes will line their nests with saliva and dung or mud to ensure it is comfortable and smooth.
The Song thrush lays eggs that are a beautiful blue colour with black spots which the female will incubate alone. Once they are hatched, both the male and the female will work together feed the young.
Although song thrushes are resident to the UK, they will migrate south in the autumn and may travel as far as Spain, France and Portugal. Many remain in the UK throughout the winter months and may even be joined by distant relatives from Scandinavia and further afield.
The song thrush is now a Red List species of bird, as the population has declined significantly in the last few years. It is thought the change is due to agricultural intensification and the subsequent hedgerow loss, as well as differences in the way woodlands are now managed. However, there is some evidence to suggest this decline may be stabilising. Although the song thrush is a fairly infrequent garden visitor, when they do show up, most often in the winter and spring, it is a pleasure to watch them.