European Blackbird

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image: europeanBlackbird.jpg

Common Name: Eurasian Blackbird

Scientific Name: Turdus merula

Size: 9-11.5 inches (23-29 cm)

Habitat: Europe and Asia. Common in woods and gardens.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 150,000,000 - 500,000,000 Mature individuals.

Diet: Insects, earthworms, seeds and berries

Breeding: Nest occurs in bushes or similar, laying usually 4 bluish- green-grey eggs with brown reddish marks in a neat cup-shaped nest.

Cool Facts: Urban males are more likely to overwinter in cooler climates than rural males, an adaptation made feasible by the warmer microclimate and relatively abundant food that allow the birds to establish territories and start reproducing earlier in the year.

It does not form flocks, although several birds, especially migrants, may be loosely associated in a suitable habitat. The female Blackbird is aggressive in the spring when it competes with others for a good nesting territory. The male is also competitive and will protect its territory by chasing away other males. If a fight between male Blackbirds does occur it is usually short and the intruder is soon chased away.

The male sings its varied and melodious song from trees, rooftops or other elevated perches. It sings mainly in the period from March to June, sometimes into the beginning of July. In very mild winters, Blackbird song is heard in February and even in January.

The Blackbird is the national bird of Sweden.

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