basic information

Mistle Thrush

Turdus viscivorus (Linnaeus, 1758)

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Big Almaty Lake. Ile Alatau National Park.
© Askar Isabekov


The Mistle Thrush is a quite large bird, about 150 grams in weight, about 300 mm in length; wingspan is about 150 mm. The adult birds have the grayish-brown back yellowish tinged on uppertail; the flight feathers and larger wing coverts are blackish-brown with light borders on outer webs. The underparts are white with large blackish-brown spots. The tail feathers are grayish-brown with whitish spot on the tops of outer pairs. Juveniles have rusty-yellow tinge. In size the Mistle Thrush is double large than Song Thrush and Redwing, but is similar on coloring. In flight it is well distinguished by white underwings; when the Song Thrush have yellowish underwings, but at Redwing the rusty flanks are evident.


The Mistle Thrush in Kazakhstan lives in Kokchetav upland, Kazakh Upland and mountain forests in Altai, Tien Shan and Dzhungarsky Alatau. On migration it occurs throughout. On South and South-East Kazakhstan Mistle Thrush winters regular. The detailed distribution in Kazakhstan please see in the chapter "Subspecies".


The Mistle Thrush is common breeding migrant, in some places common resident or rare passage migrant. It inhabits mainly coniferous forests. In Kokchetav it inhabits pine forests; in Kazakh upland mixed pine-birch-asp forests; in Altai light larch forests and margins of taiga; in North Tien Shan spurse forests; in West Tien Shan tall juniper forests. In mountains it nests also above the forests; in the bush juniper thickets of sub-alpine belt and on the rocks of alpine belt on 1000-3300 m. On migration it visits the groves, gardens, riparian forests, bush thickets, kitchen-gardens and reed-beds on lakes. It appears in March – April. It breeds in the separate pairs at 15-80 m, but often more then 100 m apart. Mainly the female builds the nest for 3-8 days; the male escorts it or very rare brings the dry grass. The nest is built on tree (pine, spruce, juniper, birch, asp, willow, apple, rowan) on 1-20 m above the ground, or on the rocks in the treeless highland; is built from the soil-mixed thin twigs, lichen and dry grass; and is lined with dry grass. The clutches of 2-5 (usually 4) eggs found in early April – end June. Mainly the female incubates for 12-14 days, male rare helps it. Both parents feed juveniles fledged on 12-15 days old, in second half of May – mid-August. In Talasskiy and Zailiyskiy Alatau it has two broods per season; the repeated breeding after losing of the first nest is very common. The autumn migration is in September – October in small groups, latest birds recorded in early December.


Turdus viscivorus viscivorus (Linnaeus 1758)

    Description. The upperparts are darker, more brown less grayish; the spots on the underparts are slightly larger and more numerous than on bonapartei.
    Distribution. The indication about its breeding in the middle of Ural river valley "between Orenburg and Uralsk" (N.A.Zarudny, 1897) is not confirmed by the facts and researches of recent years. In Kazakhstan it occurs on migration apparently from Volga-Ural area and Mangyshlak; eastward to Mugodzhary ridge and area North Trans-Aral area.

Turdus viscivorus bonapartei (Cabanis, 1860)

    Description. The upperparts are lighter, more greyish less brownish; the spots on the underparts are slightly smaller and less numerous than on viscivorus.
    Distribution. Breeds in Kokchetav and Kazakh uplands; in Southwest Altai; in Kalbinskiy Altai; Saur; Tarbagatay; Dzhungarskiy Alatau; and Tien Shan (in west up to Pskem and Ugam ridges). On migration it occurs mostly in the east half of Kazakhstan, westward apparently to Naurzum Reserve, Mugodzhary ridge and Syrdarya delta. In small numbers it winters on the south of Republic, from the Syrdarya valley to the northern spurs of Dzhungarskiy Alatau.


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.
"Жизнь Животных" том 5. Птицы. Москва. "Просвещение", 1970.
А.Ф.Ковшарь "Певчие птицы". Алма-Ата, "Кайнар", 1983.



Turdus viscivorus viscivorus
(Linnaeus 1758)
Turdus viscivorus bonapartei
(Cabanis, 1860)

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