Blackbird, Merel, Amsel, Melro Preto, Mirlo Común

Spotted at Monte Horizonte in the Alentejo region of Portugal.                                                              Blackbird sound  

The Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) is a species of true thrush. It is also called Eurasian Blackbird (especially in North America, to distinguish it from the unrelated New World blackbirds), or simply Blackbird, where this does not lead to confusion with a similar-looking local species.

Blackbird, Merel, Amsel, Melro Preto, Mirlo Común

It breeds in Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and has been introduced to Australia and New Zealand. It has a number of subspecies across its large range; a few of the Asian subspecies are sometimes considered to be full species. Depending on latitude, the Common Blackbird may be resident, partially migratory or fully migratory

The male of the nominate subspecies, which is found throughout most of Europe, is all black except for a yellow eye-ring and bill and has a rich melodious song; the adult female and juvenile have mainly dark brown plumage. This species breeds in woods and gardens, building a neat, mud-lined, cup-shaped nest. It is omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects, earthworms, berries, and fruits.

Both sexes are territorial on the breeding grounds, with distinctive threat displays, but are more gregarious during migration and in wintering areas. Pairs will stay in their territory throughout the year where the climate is sufficiently temperate. This common and conspicuous species has given rise to a number of literary and cultural references, frequently related to its song.

The Common Blackbird of the nominate subspecies T. m. merula is 23.5 to 29 centimetres (9.25 to 11.4 in) in length, has a long tail, and weighs 80–125 grammes (2.8 to 4.4 oz). The adult male has glossy black plumage, blackish-brown legs, a yellow eye-ring and an orange-yellow bill. The bill darkens somewhat in winter. The adult female is sooty-brown with a dull yellowish-brownish bill, a brownish-white throat and some weak mottling on the breast. The juvenile is similar to the female, but has pale spots on the upperparts, and the very young juvenile also has a speckled breast. Young birds vary in the shade of brown, with darker birds presumably males. The first year male resembles the adult male, but has a dark bill and weaker eye ring, and its folded wing is brown, rather than black like the body plumage.

Other synonyms:

Catalan: Merla
Czech: Kos cerný, Kos ?erný
Welsh: Mwyalchen
Danish: Solsort
German: Amsel
English: Blackbird, Common Blackbird, Eurasian Blackbird, Eurasian Blackbird (Eurasian)
Spanish: Mirlo Común
Estonian: Musträstas
Finnish: mustarastas
Faroese: kvørkveggja
French: Merle noir
Hungarian: Fekete rigó
Icelandic: Svartþröstur
Italian: Merlo
Japanese: kuroutadori, Kuro-utadori
Latin: Turdus merula, Turdus merula
Lithuanian: Juodasis strazdas
Dutch: Merel
Norwegian: Svarttrost
Polish: kos
Portuguese: Melro-preto
Slovak: drozd ?ierny
Swedish: Koltrast


Travel Birdwatching Holiday Alentejo, Vacation Portugal for birders guided birdwatching Tours and Trips.

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