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Distinguishing blackbird vs mistle thrush song (1 Viewer)

louise S

Active member

I don't know if this is the right forum for this question, but it seemed the most likely?

I've been learning to recognise bird song over the last year or so, and love being able to take a guess at what I might be looking for before I see it. However, I find the songs of the blackbird and the mistle thrush completely indistinguishable. Every time I think I have it figured out, I find recording that breaks any rule I've come up with.

I was just wondering - does anyone here have any strategies to help them tell the difference between these two?

Thanks for your help!

Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
I dont know if this works in Sweden too, but: a very rough guideline is:
Mistle Trush often sings high up at extremly exposed posts like top of the tree. This is also the case in Blackbird, but not so often.
Blackbirds often sing from suboptimal posts (still open) but they would be considered as "second choice" from a Mistle Thrush.

I know there are many exceptions, and their songs are different, if known well.

I am not sure if this helpfull or leads you in the wrong direction.
You shouldnt say: it looks like a Blackbird, but its singing exposed from the top of a large tree, so this must be a Mistle Thrush.
But maybe this is helpful in gathering experince. When birding, try and look if it works in Sweden, too. I would like to hear the results!


Well-known member
In general, Blackbird song has very varying height. High, loosely bound whistles (ca 6-12) usually with deep flute or octarina-like tone, rising to piercing whistles. Varied length and height of sounds and big changes in pitch distinguish it from much more uniform Mistle Thrush. 'Whiuu-vuu-vii, viii-vie-viii viia viaaa tvia' etc.

Mistle Thrush sings like a simplified Blackbird. The song is shorter, less varied, with little variation in height. Loud and deep, 1-4 deep flutes or high whistles repeated with clear intervals: 'triuuue… triuuue…' or 'truu-iti… truui-iti…' etc.


louise S

Active member
These are brilliant, thanks! I had a feeling someone around here would have suggestions. With these combined, hopefully I should be able to get a better feel for it now. I assume the birds' behaviour wouldn't be so different in Sweden, but will keep an ear out for it.
Really appreciate the tips :)


Well-known member
Traditionally Mistle Thrush song is described as mournful.
I wonder if "distant" is as good or even a better description. Of course singing mistle thrushes often are because of their choice of singing post but even so has an air of something a bit detached, and "way off" for me.

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