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A Mistle Thrush showing it's white belly covered in round, black spots from it's perch on a top twig against a pale blue sky.

Mistle Thrush

Turdus viscivorus

Key Facts

  • Length: 27cm
  • Wingspan: 45cm
  • Weight: 130g
  • Average lifespan: 3 years

The Mistle Thrush is a large songbird, commonly found in parks and gardens, woodland and scrub. The Mistle Thrush probably gets its common name from its love of Mistletoe.

It enjoys the sticky berries and, once it has found a berry-laden tree, will guard it from any would-be thieves. It also helps Mistletoe to thrive by wiping its bill on the tree bark to remove sticky residue and accidentally ‘planting’ the seeds in weak spots; it also disperses the seeds in its droppings.

How to Identify

The Mistle Thrush is pale greyish-brown above, with a white belly covered in round, black spots. Larger and greyer than the Song Thrush.

Where to Find

Widespread but absent from north-west Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

How People Can Help

Mistle Thrush numbers have decreased since the 1970’s – a decline mirrored by many of our farmland and garden birds. Changes in agricultural practices, such as the removal of hedgerows and increased use of pesticides, have had detrimental effects, but The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with farmers and landowners to promote wildlife-friendly practices. You can help too, by providing food and water for garden birds. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there’s plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Did you know?

The Mistle Thrush is also known as the ‘Rain Bird’, as they can be heard singing loudly from the tops of high trees after spring rains.

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