Devon Wildlife Trust Often spotted in large flocks, the fieldfare is an attractive thrush. It is a winter visitor, enjoying the feast of seasonal berries the UK's hedgerows, woodlands and parks have to offer.

The fieldfare is a large, colourful thrush that visits the UK in the winter to feast on berry-laden bushes in hedgerows, woodlands and parks. Fieldfares are sociable birds and can be seen in flocks of more than 200 birds roaming through the countryside. They often venture into gardens when there is snow cover or if it is a severe winter.

How to Identify

The fieldfare has a chestnut-brown back and yellowy breast, streaked with black. It has a black tail, dark wings and pale grey rump and head. It is a little smaller than the similar-looking mistle thrush, but quite distinctive. 


RSPB Fieldfares are large, colourful thrushes, much like a mistle thrush in general size, shape and behaviour. They stand very upright and move forward with purposeful hops. They are very social birds, spending the winter in flocks of anything from a dozen or two to several hundred strong. These straggling, chuckling flocks which roam the UK's countryside are a delightful and attractive part of the winter scene. 


Devon Birds: Search the Devon Birds website for recent sightings of Fieldfares in Devon. 


A Fieldfare eating windfall apples in our garden in Chulmleigh 2nd Janunary 2021 (Photo Grant Sherman)


Wikipedia: The fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) is a member of the thrush family Turdidae. It breeds in woodland and scrub in northern Europe and across the Palearctic. It is strongly migratory, with many northern birds moving south during the winter. It is a very rare breeder in the British Isles, but winters in large numbers in the United Kingdom, Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. It is omnivorous, eating a wide range of molluscs, insects and earthworms in the summer, and berries, grain and seeds in the winter.

Fieldfares often nest in small colonies, possibly for protection from predators. The nest is built in a tree where five or six eggs are laid. The chicks are fed by both parents and leave the nest after a fortnight. There may be two broods in southern parts of the range but only one further north. Migrating birds and wintering birds often form large flocks, often in the company of redwings.

The fieldfare is 25 cm (10 in) long, with a grey crown, neck and rump, a plain brown back, dark wings and tail and white underwings. The breast and flanks are heavily spotted. The breast has a reddish wash and the rest of the underparts are white. The sexes are similar in appearance but the females are slightly more brown. The male has a simple chattering song and the birds have various guttural flight and alarm calls. 


National Biodiveristy Network Turdus pilaris

The NBN Atlas is a collaborative project that aggregates biodiversity data from multiple sources and makes it available and usable online. It is the UK’s largest collection of freely available biodiversity data. 


eBird: Fairly common to common winter migrant from breeding grounds in Scandinavia and Russia. Breeds in wooded and forested habitats; in winter found mainly in open woodland, farmland with hedges, orchards, parkland. Often in flocks, sometimes mixed with Redwings and other thrushes, feeding out in fields or in fruiting trees. Rather large, subtly attractive thrush with blue-gray head, dark chestnut-brown back, gray rump, and variable peachy-buff wash on spotted breast. 

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