basic information

Eurasian Blackbird

Turdus merula (Linnaeus, 1758)

Черный дрозд | Қара сайрақ

© Askar Isabekov


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.


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".


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.


Turdus merula merula (Linnaeus, 1758)

    Description. The general color of female is lighter; the rusty color on the breast is more dispersed than on intermedius. The bill is thinner than on intermedius.
    Distribution. Breeding near Orenburg is not confirmed by the factual materials, last decades it not found on the middle current of Ural river and in Utva-Ilek area. Occurs on migration in Volga-Ural area, in lower current of Ural river (last record at Chapaevo November 10 1958, but we saw it on April 2 2006 on Chagan river -; in Naurzum Reserve; on Emba and Syrdarya valleys, where as well as on Barsa-Kelmes island occurs also in winter. Vagrant birds observed in Chelkar station (November 3 1963); in Ladyzhenka settlement; in Zaisan depression; and Kurgaldzhino on April-May and October.

Turdus merula intermedius (Richmond, 1896)

    Description. The general color of female is darker, more blackish, less greyish; the rusty color on the breast is less dispersed than on merula. The bill is stouter and stronger; the general sizes are larger than on merula. Male wing length 132-145 (138.5) mm.
    Distribution. Breeds in Dzhungarskiy Alatau, Tien Shan and Karatau (Malaya Sunga, Kashkarata valleys); in foothills of Tien Shan it lives in inhabited localities, furthermore its number is increased there in recent years; it is confirmed by the autumn observations at Chokpak Pass. The recent decades it settles on North-East Kazakhstan: since 1982 it breeds on Western Altai in Uba valley; in 1977 it observed on South Altai in Bukhtarma river uppers; and in 1992-1993 it breeds on Markakol lake where heretofore vagrant birds observed only. One male observed at May 14 2003 in Sarychagan (Balkhash lake). In winter the part of Blackbirds comes down to the adjacent plains (between Ust-Kamenogorsk and Ridder, Makanchi, Alakol lake, Ile valley near Iliisk, Chu-Ile mountains) up to Syrdarya valley.


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.



Turdus merula merula
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Turdus merula intermedius
(Richmond, 1896)

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Анна Ясько: Окрасом и длиной хвоста похож на серого сорокопута.


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