Mistle Thrush

Turdus viscivorus


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 it

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


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Mistle Thrush numbers have decreased since the 1970s - 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. To buy bird food or feeders, visit the Vine House Farm website - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm which gives 5% of all its takings to The Wildlife Trusts.

Species information

Common name
Mistle Thrush
Latin name
Turdus viscivorus
Thrushes, chats, flycatchers, starling, dipper and wren
Length: 27cm Wingspan: 45cm Weight: 130g Average Lifespan: 3 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.