The Blackbird: Turdus merula
The common European Blackbird is one of the most intensely productive birds in the UK, with approximately 6,000,000 breeding pairs. It’s Latinate name, Turdus merula is a binomial name deriving from two Latin parts: Turdus ‘thrush’ and merula ‘Blackbird’. There are around 65 species of thrushes, which are categorised according to their song, rounded heads and pointed wings. The common Blackbird we know in the UK looks to have evolved from the Island Thrush in South East Asia.
Most people would imagine a Blackbird as the frequent ground-feeding bird in our gardens, the bird with a striking deep-black plumage, yellow beak and similarly-coloured ring around each eye. However, both juvenile and female varieties are quite different, displaying an intense reddish-brown plumage and dark-brown striped beak.
Most Blackbirds, even from an early age, seem to hop along the ground at a rapid scurry, foraging for food among leaves, soil and undergrowth. They are a gregarious bird and do not shy away easily around humans, although you are unlikely ever to see a Blackbird perch on your hand like the ever popular Robin.