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Eurasian Blackbird

Turdus merula (Linnaeus, 1758)

Чёрный дрозд
female

2011-11-04
Barnaul, Altai territory
© Ivan Belyaev

Description

The Blackbird is long-tailed bird in size similar on Fieldfare. The adult male has the almost plain black plumage, blackish-brown legs, orange-yellow bill and yellow eye-ring. The bill darkens somewhat in winter. The adult female is sooty-brown, lighter on underparts especially on the throat and breast; with some weak mottling on the breast. The color of the bill and eye-ring is variable from yellow to brownish. The seasonal differences of plumage are insignificant. The juvenile is dark (including underwings) and similar to the female, but has rusty tinge and pale longitudinal streaks on the upperparts, and the very young juvenile also has the speckled breast. The first year male resembles the adult male, but has the dark bill, the brown wings and weaker eye ring. Weight 80-150 grams, length 23-29, wing 11,6-14,0, wingspan 39-45 cm.

Distribution

In Kazakhstan Blackbird breeds in Tien Shan, Dzhungarsky Alatau and in some parts of Eastern Kazakhstan. Sometimes Blackbird observed on migration in the western half of Kazakhstan. Living in southern and south-eastern Kazakhstan Blackbirds are residents. The detailed distribution in Kazakhstan please see in the chapter "Subspecies".

Biology

The Blackbird in South and South-East Kazakhstan is common resident; in Altai it is common breeding migant; in other regions it is common or rare passage migrant. It inhabits the different forests, groves, gardens and forest-belts at 600-2600 m; often near the water. It lives also in villages and large cities, for example in Almaty where number of Blackbirds in last decades increases on several occasions. On the mountains it lives up to coniferous forest border but is abundant in lower attitudes in the greenwoods. On migration it visits the riparian forest and the reed-beds on lakes. In spring recorded in March and rare in April. It nests in separate pairs not less then 100 m one from another. The nest is built in the deciduous or coniferous trees, on stumps, in bushes or rare in the construction; often low above the ground. The nest is from the twigs and dry grass mixed with wet soil and clay, and is lined with dry grass. Both parents, but mostly female, build it for 4-7 days. Clutches of 3-7 (usually 4) bluish-green brown mottled eggs found in early April – mid-June. Mainly female incubates for 12-15 days. Same time both parents feed juveniles fledged in mid-May – early August. Adult birds feed juveniles by insects and also by brandlings especially in the towns. In the foothills Blackbirds have up to three broods per season, and in the mountains two ones. Repeated breeding after the losing of the first nest is common. In autumn rare migrants recorded from late August until October-November. At Chokpak Pass the flocks of 10-15 birds recorded in early morning at October. Except the Song Thrush the Blackbird is the best singer from Thrushes.

References

В.К.Рябицев. "Птицы Урала, Приуралья и Западной Сибири". Екатеринбург, Изд-во Уральского университета, 2000.
Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999.
Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005.
А.Ф.Ковшарь "Певчие птицы". Алма-Ата, "Кайнар", 1983.

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