The Fieldfare is easily recognisable with its slate-grey head, nape and rump, dark brown back, blackish tail and boldly speckled breast. The forehead and crown of the male are bluish-grey and each feather has a central brownish-black band. The lores and under-eye regions are black and there are faint, pale streaks above the eyes. The ear coverts, nape, hind neck and rump are bluish-grey, usually with a white streak near the shaft of each rump feather. The chin, throat and upper breast are creamy-buff with bold streaks and speckles of brownish-black.

Habitat and Distribution

It breeds in woodland and scrub in northern Europe and Asia. It is strongly migratory. Northern birds move 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. Migration southwards from the breeding range starts in October. It frequents mixed woodland of birch, alder, pine, spruce and fir, often near marshes. It also inhabits open tundra and the slopes of hills.


The Fieldfare is omnivorous. Animal food in the diet includes snails and slugs, earthworms, spiders and insects such as beetles and their larvae, flies and grasshoppers. When berries ripen in the autumn these are taken in great number.


The breeding season starts in May in Poland but in Scandinavia may start in early July. The female builds a cup-shaped nest with no concealment. It is often located in woodland but may be in a hedgerow, garden, among rocks, in a pile of logs, in a hut or on the ground. The nest is built of dried grasses and weeds with a few twigs and a little moss, with a lining of mud and an inner lining of fine grasses. There are usually five to six eggs in a clutch. Many are pale blue speckled with fine brown dots and the others are bright blue, with or without larger red-brown splotches.

Calls and Songs

The call is mostly uttered in flight and is a harsh `tsak tsak tsuk`.