Mistle Thrush.

The bird that is known as Mistle Thrush is a very common passerine bird and it is seen mostly in the Old World. It is a member of the Thrushes that belongs to the family Turdidae. This bird is scientifically known as Turdus viscivorus. Scientifically the bird has been systemically classified by Linnaeus, in accordance to his own proposed system of hierarchy. Mistle Thrushes are placed in the Kingdom Animalia, the Phylum Chordates and the Class Aves and it is member of the Order Passeriformes. This current scientific name and classification was given to the Mistle Thrush as early as in the year 1758, in Linnaeus’s Systema Naturae. The bird is named as the Mistle Thrush due to the fact that the bird eats berries from the shrub known as Mistletoe. Even its scientific name is taken from the Latin words “Turdus” that means Thrush and “Viscivorus” that means Mistletoe Eater.

These birds are found in most parts of Asia and Europe. They are found widely in the United Kingdom, but it is observed that these birds are not found in the bare grounds and places that are at high altitudes. They are completely absent in the western and the northern regions of the Scottish Isles. These birds can be seen all through the year, and they can be seen to move in flocks during the months of July and August.

The Mistle Thrushes are small birds that are about 27 centimetres long. However, they are larger than the Song Thrushes, which are similar in appearance. They are closest in appearance to the Song Thrush, scientific name: Turdus philomelos; and the Chinese Thrush, scientific name: Turdus mupinensis.

It is seen that both the males and the female Mistle Thrushes appear similar. They are seen to be plain and simple in appearance, having a greyish brown coloured back, and its underparts are seen to have neat and round black spots. The bird hops across the ground when it is in flight. It has wings that are long, and its tail is seen to be edged with white. The call of the Mistle Thrush is a rattling sound when the bird is in flight, and the song sounds like that of a flute. The male birds are known to sing melodiously from an elevated perch like a rooftop, a window or a tree; during night times or when there is bad weather. Hence the Mistle Thrush is also called as the “Stormcock”. The alarm call of the Mistle Thrushes when they are in danger sounds like that of a machine gun or a football rattle.

Mistle Thrushes are omnivorous birds and they eat many types of small insects and worms like the earthworms, slugs, etc. they also eat the berries from certain trees, especially the Mistletoe Berries. It has been observed that the Mistle Thrushes also defend their berry- bearing tree during the winter seasons when other Thrushes will attack the tree.

The nests of the Mistle Thrushes are made of grass and will be built in a neat cup shape. They will be built on trees and the bird lays several eggs.

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