Speaking of European birds with unusual sounds, one cannot fail to mention the fieldfare thrush. More recently, such a representative was extremely difficult to meet in the city. Today, thanks to the rapid spread of rowan trees, it is quite easy to meet a thrush lover of their berries. You will immediately understand that this is exactly the fieldfare thrush. Perhaps this is due to its original appearance and unusual trill.
View origin and description
Fieldfare belongs to the animal kingdom, chordate phylum, bird class and passerine order (Passeriformes). This group includes more than 5 thousand representatives and is considered one of the largest in terms of composition. Individuals belonging to this order are distributed throughout the world. Mostly they live in warm and hot latitudes. They prefer city life to forest life. And some representatives can even spend all the allotted years on a tree. The family, which includes fieldfare, is called “Drozdov” (Turdidae).
The following features are characteristic of its representatives:
- small (small and medium) sizes – 10- 30 cm;
- straight (but slightly arched at the top) beak;
- broad rounded wings;
- straight tail;
- region habitats – thickets, shrubs, forests.
The color of thrushes can be both modest light and bright contrasting. All birds of this subgroup feed on berries and insects. They can live alone, in pairs, or in packs. Fieldfare give preference to the latter method of movement. Moving in flocks, they emit loud short squeals. They give themselves away with loud crackling (“Trr…”, “Tshchek”) during the nesting period.
Video: Fieldfare thrush
Compared to other members of the thrush class, the fieldfare is less timid and less secretive. It is much easier to meet them up close (especially during the flowering of mountain ash). Their song is clearer, but much quieter. Passing by a bush of red berries and hearing a strange crackle ending in a perky “…week”, you can be sure that somewhere in the wilds of the branches a fieldfare has settled, regaling itself with its favorite drug.
Now you know what the chicks of the fieldfare thrush look like . Let’s see where this interesting bird lives and what it eats.
Appearance and Features
Even those who are poorly versed in bird trills can easily distinguish fieldfare among the rest of the representatives of the thrush class. This happens due to the unique colorful appearance of the individual.
The external characteristics of migratory animals can be represented as follows:
- color – multicolor. The head of the birds is usually grayish. The tail is so dark that it appears black. The back is painted brown. The belly (like many other thrushes) differs from the background of the general color – it is white. On the brisket there is a dark yellow apron in small dots. Wing lining (visible during bird flight) – white;
- dimensions are medium. Fieldfare are largely inferior in size to jackdaws, but at the same time they are superior to starlings. In terms of size characteristics, they are almost the same as the blackbird. The maximum weight is 140 g (male) and 105 g (female). The body length of adults barely reaches 28 cm. The wingspan is quite wide – about 45 cm;
- the beak is sharp. Against the background of other birds, fieldfare favorably distinguishes its bright yellow sharp beak. Its top is dark. The length of the beak ranges from 1.5 to 3 cm. This length is quite enough to absorb small insects and eat the fruits of the rowan tree.
Interesting fact: The color of the male and females are practically the same. A distinctive characteristic is only the dimensions of the fieldfare representatives.
With seasonal climatic changes, the appearance of fieldfare practically does not change. Only the color of the beak changes (from bright yellow to ocher), and the reddish apron located on the chest of the individual also increases.
Where does the fieldfare thrush live?
Today you can meet fieldfare throughout northern Eurasia (from Cape Roca to Cape Dezhnev). Birds lead both a sedentary and nomadic lifestyle.
In winter, most individuals prefer to spend time in the following countries:
- North Africa is a part of Africa that includes such countries , like: Egypt, Sudan, Libya, etc. This area attracts birds with the Mediterranean natural zone. Most of the territory is occupied by the Sahara.
- Europe (Central and South) is a region that includes the countries of the Mediterranean, as well as states that are not part of the CIS. The territory is distinguished by a calm climate, fertile soil and an abundance of plants (which is essential for the normal life of fieldfares).
- Asia is an island part (mainly Turkey). The climatic conditions of the area are mountainous, have the features of a continental climate. In the Aegean and Mediterranean, winters are quite mild and calm.
Birds also live in the CIS countries. At the same time, with a sufficient number of rowan bushes, they may not fly at all for wintering in foreign territories. Fieldfare love to settle in overgrown steppes, forests and their edges. The main requirement for a place of residence is the proximity of wet meadows. You will not be able to meet these birds in the dense forest. Thrush nesting takes several months (from April to July).
An interesting fact: Fieldfare build nests mainly on pines, alders, oaks at the fork of the trunk. All components (moss, twigs) that come across “under the beak” act as building materials. The bonding agent is clay, silt, wet earth. The result of the labors is a massive cup-shaped structure with a fairly deep bottom.
Getting to the fieldfare nest is not so easy. Birds build their home at considerable heights. The maximum building level is 6 m.
What does fieldfare thrush eat?
Based on the name thrush, we can conclude that his favorite food is rowan berries. This conclusion is absolutely correct. It is these fruits that the fieldfare eats in the summer.
In the remaining few months, its diet includes:
- snails (gastropods with an external shell);
- earthworms (universal food that can be found anywhere in the world);
- insects (like small beetles, cockroaches and flying representatives class and their larvae).
The favorite delicacy of fieldfares are berries. At what we are talking not only about the fruits of mountain ash. Birds have a special craving for sweets, because of which they are forced to go in search of delicious berries already in the first days of summer. Between a mountain ash and a bush with sweet fruits, the fieldfare will definitely choose the second option. Thrushes are content with mountain ash only in cases where there are no other fruits. The tart and slightly bitter taste of these berries interrupts sugar cravings.
Interesting fact: Fieldfare thrushes have a good memory. Having once enjoyed the sweet fruits of a tree, the birds instantly remember its location. Even if the clearing is overgrown with other prolific bushes, the fieldfare, first of all, will pluck the plant, the taste characteristics of which have already been tested by him. lack of fresh fruit. At the same time, the absorption of earthworms often ends in death for birds. This is due to the fact that underground creatures are infected with nematodes, a large number of which the body of thrushes cannot endure.
Due to the fact that recently rowan bushes are increasingly found in the CIS countries, it has become much easier to notice nests of thrushes on them (even in winter). Birds remain to winter directly on fruitful trees.
Character and lifestyle features
The way of life of fieldfare depends on the climatic conditions of the area where it lives and the fertility of its soil.
Birds can lead the following types of life:
- sedentary – living in one territorial area all year round , only the location of the nests can change (this is due to the finding of more fertile trees);
- nomadic – flights to warmer countries in the winter and return to their homeland only with the onset of spring.
The study of fieldfare showed that those birds that had to leave their native land due to the onset of cold weather returned from “abroad” to their homeland rather soon – in mid-April. Thrushes move mainly in flocks. One group has up to 100 birds. At the same time, immediately after arriving at their native land, fieldfare stick together. At first, they prefer to “sit out” on the outskirts of forests, in the suburbs. This is where the birds are waiting for the snow to melt and the opportunity to search for food.
After the snow has melted, a flock of arriving fieldfare is divided into so-called colonies. Each new group has its leader. The formed family begins to search for a place for nesting and food directly. One colony has about 20 bird pairs. By their nature fieldfare thrushes are quite lively and bold. Unlike their classmates, they are not afraid to confront large enemies. The main share of the protection of the collective is assigned to the wings of the leaders of the colonies.
The weapons of fieldfare are stones and droppings. During the battle with the enemy, they rise to a great height and drop a stone on the enemy. A hit promises serious damage to the bird. After the throw, the fieldfare “rewards” its victim with droppings. This is necessary to weight and glue the wings (because of which a clear design becomes impossible).
An interesting fact: A person passing under the “battlefield” can also become a victim of fieldfare. Of course, it will be possible to get out of the battle alive. But not clean.
Social structure and reproduction
The classification of fieldfare by gender implies the division of all birds into males and females. The only difference between them is the size. Since the colonies return to their homeland quite early, the females are ready to incubate new offspring at the end of April.
Before direct reproduction, the female part of the thrush colony begins active construction. It is females who create housing conditions for future offspring – a nest. Externally, the building looks massive. It is deep and strong enough. Inside, the “house” is covered with a special soft coating.
Mating fieldfare occurs in early May. At one time, the female can land up to 7 greenish eggs. It is their mother who protects them for about 15-20 days.
An interesting fact: While the female incubates the eggs, the male does not provide her with food. Fieldfare mothers have to search for food and replenish supplies on their own. The father, on the other hand, protects his nest from predators and protects other members of the colony.
Chicks hatch by mid-May. For about half a month, small fieldfare are under the strict supervision of their mother. Both the female and the male supply the cubs with food. During one daylight hours, parents bring food to the nest about 100-150 times. The cubs feed about 13 times per hour.
The first broods eat mainly insects and worms. The latter fall into the berry season and are content with blueberries, mountain ash, strawberries and other fruits. At the end of May, the chicks fly out of the nest. Parental training (flights, meals) has been going on for some time. After that, the birds go to “free swimming”. The female is ready for the second clutch in June. The number of cubs decreases with each brood.
Natural enemies of fieldfare thrushes
В Fieldfare has a huge number of enemies in its natural habitat. Many predators want to eat a small lively bird.
Among the worst rivals of thrushes, the following individuals can be noted:
- crows. The most massive representatives of the passerine class do not miss the opportunity to feast on the unhatched or very weak offspring of thrushes. For these purposes, crows even settle near their victims. After waiting for the right moment, they attack the fieldfare nest and devastate it. But this outcome is not typical for all cases. Most attacks end in the complete defeat of the crows. Fieldfare are quite bold and strong birds. They can deal with a large feathered enemy even alone;
- proteins. Such enemies are especially dangerous for the fieldfare, which have built their nest on tall trees. Moving along the branches, the squirrel quickly enters the nest, absorbing everything that is in it. It is noteworthy that if the male sees an approaching squirrel, then he will be able to drive it away (with strong flapping of wings and pecking).
Other predators hunt for fieldfare: falcons, hawks, woodpeckers, owls and jays . Any animal or bird that can get to the fieldfare nest located at a high altitude can act as a hunter.
An interesting fact: Fieldfare is so bold that they are ready to defend the colony from enemies several times larger than birds. Moreover, thrushes often come to the aid of their feathered counterparts.
But even such fearless birds are not always able to protect their flock. Mass attacks can cause the complete extermination of the fieldfare colony. Bad weather can contribute to this. There are also known cases when a crow that lit up a nest went unpunished because of a person interfering with the battle. Thrushes are still afraid of people.
Despite its militancy, the fieldfare is not able to hurt other birds without threatening its own life. Birds often defend smaller individuals, protecting them from predators. Often, crows, hearing the bizarre calls of the fieldfare in the finch’s nest, prefer to turn around and fly in the other direction, leaving the attack plan for the next case.
Population and species status
The fieldfare class is considered the most numerous of the thrush orders. It includes a huge number of representatives, the exact number of which is simply impossible to count. Birds are distributed throughout Europe. They were actively monitored in Belarus and Russia (mainly St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad). According to the scientific conclusions summed up by the results of the research, it is not yet possible to talk about a decrease in the number of the genus.
Prior to the active spread of mountain ash in the CIS countries, this individual was one of the rare guests. Today, the number of returning colonies every year is only increasing. At the same time, representatives of thrushes live both in the natural environment and in national parks. The behavior of birds does not depend on the type of territory inhabited by them.
Fieldfare adapt well to new territories and eat quite diversely. They are not afraid of attacks from more massive predators. Hunting for such birds is not popular, because. they are small in size and rather primitive (in the eyes of the hunter). And this means that we will be able to observe the brave and fearless representatives of the thrush for a long time (until the mountain ash stops growing).
Fieldfare is an interesting bird in all plans. They are attractive in appearance and unusually talented in the field of bird trills. Small in size, they fearlessly take the fight, disgracefully driving away any predator from their territory. The grouse thrush constantly returns to its homeland, wherever their “fair wind” brings them. It is easy enough to see these birds. They live in forest areas in predominantly shrub areas. Meeting with such an individual will leave a pleasant trace in your memory (unless you find the fieldfare at the moment of its attack and do not fall under the “shelling”).