Redwing

Turdus iliacus

21cm

Appearance

The Redwing is smaller and more slender than the Song Thrush. The Redwing is greyish brown on top, whitish underneath with vivid spotting and streaking, the flanks are tinged a deep orangish-red, and there is a pale buffish stripe above the eye and underneath the cheek. Juveniles resemble adults but the flank colours are less vivid and there are whitish spots on the back.

Habitat

Hedges and orchards are favoured territories in autumn, while in winter the Redwing is more commonly seen on areas of short grass, including farmland and parks. Scottish breeding grounds are on scrub territory in close proximity to water.

Character

Usually a timid bird, but is quite sociable amongst other bird species, particularly when not breeding; flocks form for migration and feeding, and roosts may be communal.

Food

Diet includes fallen fruit, and a mixture of berries, and as the year moves on and these are less available, Redwings rely on worms. Other food includes snails, slugs and insects.

Breeding

Female lays 4 or 5 eggs which she incubates for about 12-13 days. Both adults feed the hatchlings, which depart the nest at 10-15 days old, but continue to be fed by parents for a further two weeks. There are commonly two broods a season.

Population

Birds from Iceland usually spend the winter in Scotland and Ireland, while Scandinavian birds are more likely to spend winter in the south of the region and in southern Europe. Less than than 10 pairs breed in the region each year; the winter population of the region is approximately 690 000 individuals.

Observation Tips

The Redwing is quite a common winter visitor, and is not too difficult to see on agricultural land or open fields. Challenging weather can drive these birds into the more sheltered territories of gardens and playing fields.

Voice

Has a 'tseep' call that is uttered most often during night migrations. The song is a variance of notes and phrases, and is rarely heard in the region.
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