Blackbird - Turdus merula - Family: Turdidae
Male blackbird© Robin Chittenden www.harlequinpictures.co.uk
The blackbird is one of the most numerous and familiar of English birds. The male is easily identified with his all-black plumage and bright yellow bill. The female is less conspicuous with a mid-brown upper body and paler, lightly streaked underparts. Blackbirds occur throughout the country, being found in most habitats including gardens, woodlands, hedgerows, parks, scrub, heath and even moorland. They are among the first birds to sing at dawn and the last to finish at dusk. Their song is flute-like, varied and, unlike that of their close relative the song thrush, does not contain repeated phrases. Many consider the song more beautiful even than that of the nightingale. Blackbirds breed from March onwards, building their nests of twigs, mud and moss in trees and shrubs. Natural predators such as magpies often take their eggs and chicks. Adults, and more particularly, juveniles frequently fall prey to domestic cats. However, they are often able to raise three broods in a single season and so predation rarely reduces the breeding population.
Blackbirds will nest in many garden shrubs and climbers including ivy, holly, privet, hawthorn, bramble, currant, honeysuckle and pyracantha.
Blackbirds use their dagger like bill to pull earthworms and other invertebrates from the ground during the breeding season. In autumn and winter they also feed on fruit, especially windfall apples and berries.
Alder buckthorn, Apple, Barberry, Bird cherry, Black currant, Blackthorn, Bramble, Buckthorn, Butcher's-broom, Californian lilac, Clematis montana, Cowberry, Crab apple, Crowberry, Dog rose, Dogwood, Elder, Field rose, Gooseberry, Grape vine, Guelder rose, Hawthorn, Himalayan honeysuckle, Holly, Honeysuckle, Ivy, Midland hawthorn, Portugal laurel, Privet, Rowan, Snowy mespile, Snowy mespile, Sweet briar, Tutsan, Wall spray, Wayfaring tree, Whitebeam, Wild cherry, Yew
Banded centipede, Brandling worm, Common earthworm, Common frog, Common garden snail, Geophilus carpophagus, Moths, Nephrotoma quadrifaria, Sawflies, Slugs and snails
Jay, Magpie, Sparrowhawk