Songbirds explained

The scientific classification for songbird is passerine, or those birds which are of the order Passeri, which comprises around 4,000 species of birds around the world – a phenomenal amount; in fact, nearly half the world’s birds are classified as passerine, indicating that the vocal organ, which is specifically highly developed within this classification, is a useful “tool” for sexual selection among mating birds during the breeding season.

Easily identified by their more complex syrinx, a topic we wrote about in our Dawn Chorus Special, this vocal organ allows for complex, varied and repeated patterns of trills and shrills, along with distinct resonance from the more elongated windpipe.

The chief evolutionary purpose of this complex vocal organ is for courtship and breeding, primarily used by males to display their readiness to mate, as well as stimulate female sexuality. Other important uses of song include a signalling of established territory, to notify location, or to ward off rival males during confrontation.

Passerine songbirds in your garden

In Britain, we are lucky to have some of the more glamorous songsters among the world’s many passerines. Most notably is the Song thrush, used in literature such as Thomas Hardy’s lyrical poem, which is rich in metaphor, The Darkling Thrush. The Song thrush’s repeated phrases distinguish it from the other well-known passerine, the Blackbird; although both express vocalisation in their own unique ways.

There are several species of “classic” songbirds that are frequent visitors to gardens across the UK. Take a look below at the list of passerines. Click on each link to find out more about each bird and listen to their song.

Attract songbirds with the following bird food!

Robin & Softbill Seed Mix

A perfect blend of seeds for Blackbirds, Song thrushes and Great tits

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Suet Pellet Selection

A combination of insect, peanut and berry flavoured suet pellets. Suitable for Blackbirds, Blue tits, Wrens, Song thrushes and Chaffinches

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Dried mealworm

Dried mealworms are a firm favourite among common songbirds in the garden. Feed to Blue tits, Wrens, Great tits and Chaffinches.

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Classic Suet Fat Balls

Available in 6, 20, 40, all the way up to 300 packs of suet balls. Perfect food for Blackbirds, Blue tits, Song thrushes, Wrens and Great tits.

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