Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)



[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Turdidae | [latin] Turdus pilaris | [UK] Fieldfare | [FR] Grive litorne | [DE] Wacholderdrossel | [ES] Zorzal Real | [NL] Kramsvogel


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Large, bold, long-tailed, often noisy thrush, with rather rakish form both on ground and in the air. Plumage more boldly variegated and richly colored than any other west Palearctic thrush, with blue-grey head, vinous-chestnut back, grey rump, and almost black tail obvious on ground, and heavily speckled breast and flanks, white vent, and black undertail obvious from below.
Combination of grey rump, black tail, and white underwing diagnostic. Flight characteristically leisurely. Commonest call diagnostic. Sexes closely similar, little seasonal variation.

Listen to the sound of Fieldfare


Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 39 cm wingspan max.: 42 cm
size min.: 22 cm size max.: 27 cm
incubation min.: 10 days incubation max.: 13 days
fledging min.: 12 days fledging max.: 13 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 5  
      eggs max.: 7  


Eurasia : Central, West


Breeds in middle and higher latitudes of west Palearctic, in subarctic, boreal, and temperate zones, in woods of birch, pine, spruce, alder, and mixed species, usually in open growth or on fringes of moist areas with grass cover. Often along rivers or in groups of trees in fens or bogs, in sheltered but cool and humid situations.


Breeds late Apr to late June in Scandinavia, May-June in Lapland. Nest site is in tree, placed in crotch of branch against trunk, or on side branch, exceptionally on ground or in depression anmong rock. Nest, bulky though compact structure with outer parts of grass reinforced with twigs, roots, etc, lined with thick layer of mud, and inner lining of fine grasses and a few roots. 5-6 eggs, incubation 10-13 days, by female only.

Feeding habits

Wide range of invertebrates, also fruits from late summer to early winter. Feeds on ground and in trees and bushes.
When collecting food for young, adult usually eats small items itself, will collect items in a pile before carrying them off.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Turdus pilaris is a widespread breeder in central and northern Europe, but winters
across much of the continent, which constitutes >75% of its global wintering range.
Insufficient information was available to assess the species’s status using wintering
population data, but its European breeding population is extremely large (>14,000,000
pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Breeding populations in most countries
(including Russia) were stable or increased during 1990-2000, and the species probably
remained stable overall.
This thrush inhabits a major part of Eurasia, from central Europe and Scandinavia to eastern Siberia. It is a species of the taiga, which has considerably extended its breeding area to the west, and colonised Iceland and Greenland. Inside the European Union it has colonised Belgium, the Netherlands and eastern France. Most birds are migratory and winter in western and southern Eur

Fieldfare status Least Concern


Migratory, though in some years of winter abundance of food some resident or move only short distances. Winters mainly in western, central, and southern Europe, Turkey, and Iran, also south to Canary Islands and Persian Gulf states. Usually reaches southernmost parts of Europe only in bad winters and rarely occurs on North African coast in good numbers.
Birds flock prior to departure, becoming increasingly restless and making local movements. Spring passage generally more visible than in autumn with some impressive continual movements of birds often totalling several thousand passing along lines of hills or valleys in a matter of hours. Sudden movements of large numbers as a consequence of severe weather are commonplace across the entire wintering range. Individuals do not necessarily return to same area in successive winters with some subsequently recovered in winter up to 1600 km distant.
Southward migration begins late September or early October and continues into November. Return often begins early, birds wintering in south-central Europe making partial return movements in February. Main arrivals in Norway from mid-April and in Sweden and Finland from late April.

Distribution map

Fieldfare distribution range map

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