- Turdus iliacus
Length 20-24 cm (7¾-9½ in), weight 46-80 g
Adult: Olive-brown upperparts and marked light supercilium. Underparts are paler but with a spotted breast (which are arranged in vertical lines) and chestnut flanks and underwing. Dark brown bill and yellowy-brown legs.
Juvenile: Similar, but also streaked above, white tips to tertials.
Breeds in Iceland, northern Scotland (rare), Scandinavia, eastern Poland, the Baltic States, Belarus, and across most of Russia east to central Magadan Oblast in eastern Siberia.
Winter visitor to Britain, continental Europe, the Mediterranean region, and east to northern Iran. A casual vagrant to northeastern North America.
Relationships unclear. One genetic study rather surprisingly suggested it is not related to other European and Asian thrushes, instead being closer to a group of American thrushes including American Robin T. migratorius, though this has not been supported by subsequent research, which instead found a closer relationship to Eurasian Blackbird T. merula and other Eurasian thrushes.
There are two subspecies:
- T. i. iliacus:
- T. i. coburni:
Winters in open countryside, hedges, orchards and open, grassy fields.
Breeds in mixed conifer and birch forests. In the wintering grounds, it feeds on berries in trees, and on invertebrates (earthworms, etc.) in moist grassland. It typically forms loose flocks mixed with Fieldfares and Common Starlings, and to a lesser extent with Song and Mistle Thrushes. Vagrants in North America usually associate with flocks of American Robins.
Fast and rather like a Common Starling, but with more rounded wings, and flying in looser flocks. Mainly migrates at night.
Its diet includes berries and worms.
Nests in tree stumps, in trees or bushes, or on the ground. Often assocated with Fieldfare colonies.
Call: a thin "see-iz" or "seeze".
Song: subsong (recording, below) a medley of whistling, often heard from flocks in late winter; territorial song louder and more stereotyped.
- Voelker, G. et al. (2007). Molecular systematics of a speciose, cosmopolitan songbird genus: defining the limits of and relationships among the Turdus thrushes. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 42: 422-434.
- Batista, R. et al. (2020). Phylogenomics and biogeography of the world's thrushes (Aves, Turdus): new evidence for a more parsimonious evolutionary history. Proc. R. Soc. B 287: 20192400. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.2400
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- BirdLife International. 2017. Turdus iliacus (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22708819A110990927. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T22708819A110990927.en. Downloaded on 09 September 2018.
- Clement, P. & Hathway, R. (2000) Thrushes. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton.
- Collar, N., de Juana, E. & Sharpe, C.J. (2018). Redwing (Turdus iliacus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/58254 on 9 September 2018).
- Birds of Britain
- Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds 1966
- Collins Field Guide 5th Edition