Fieldfares- Hebridean Birds

Western Isles Birds Sightings - Fieldfares. Fieldfares are spectacular birds, which visit us in the winter months.

They usually return to places like Iceland to breed in the summer.

These thrush like birds, the fieldfares are known for their habit of amassing in groups to breed and bombarding any predators with excrement to ward them off
White Tailed Eagle - Isle of Lewis
Bird Overview - Fieldfares
Latin name
Turdus pilaris

Scarce Breeder - Winter Visitor

Similar Species
Mistle Thrush
Song Thrush

The Fieldfare is a member of the thrush family Turdidae.

These lovely thrushes are much like the mistle thrushes. They stand very upright, they are social birds spending the winter in flocks.

The white underwing is a useful feature for identification, they are a combination of grey on the back of the head, with a velvet back and a black tail. The spots on the chest are actually chevrons and arrowheads.

Their feathers are a mix of brown, black, white, orange, grey, with a beak colour of black/dark grey, yellow, with legs a blacky brown. The sexes are similar in appearance, except the female is generally duller and browner, juveniles lack the grey head and are browner..

They are strongly migratory, with many northern birds moving south during the winter. The fieldfare's flight is quite strong, with bursts of wingbeat, irregular glides, quite slow and erratic.

10 inches long, wingspan of up to 16 inches and weighs up to 5 oz. They are of a size between a blackbird and a pigeon.

The Fieldfares like scrubby hedgerows and fields and love any berry bushes.

The fieldfares - lovely thrushes, when they first arrive here in The Western Isles, are searching likely for berries, they love rowans and sloes. After that they feed on worms and insects on the ground, as well as other fruit from hedges and bushes and shrubs.

A distinctive loud,soft or harder,chuckling chak-chak-chak, a low nasal song, a rather poor unmusical mix or squeaks, warbles and whistles.


These fieldfares nest in large groups, which helps then fight predators like large crows, they all together take to the air, bombarding the predator with excretia - and are very good with their aim.. They nest in cups of grass and twigs, in a bush or tree, laying 5 or 6 eggs with 1 or 2 broods in May - June.

The eggs of the Fieldfare are about 29 mm by 21 mm in size, smooth, glossy, and pale blue with reddish speckles. The duties of incubating the eggs are performed by the female. The newly-hatched young are fed by both adults. incubation is 11-14 days and the fieldfares fledge at about 14 - 16 days.

Misc. Info

RSBP - Red List

These lovely fieldfare - thrushes live 5 - 10 years. In the United Kingdom, at the extreme edge of the Fieldfare's breeding range, only a handful of pairs breed. It is therefore classified by the RSPB as a Red List species as of Jan 2013.

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