The Mistle Thrush nominate subspecies is 27-28 cm (10.6-11 in) in length, with a 45 cm (18 in) wingspan. It weighs 93 to 167 g. It has a stocky upright posture. It has pale grey-brown upperparts, the chin and throat are greyish-white, and the yellowish-buff breast and off-white belly are marked with round black spots. The long tail has white tips on the outer feathers, and the underwing coverts are white. The eyes are dark brown and the bill is blackish with a yellowish base to the lower mandible. The legs and feet are yellowish-brown. There are no plumage differences between the sexes.

Habitat and Distribution

They breed in much of Europe and temperate Asia, although it is absent from the treeless far north. In the warmer southern areas, it is found in the milder uplands and coastal regions. It is a partial migrant: birds from the north and east of the range wintering in the milder areas of Europe and North Africa.


Mistle Thrushes feed mainly on invertebrates, fruit and berries. Animal prey include earthworms, insects and arthropods, slugs and snails.It may eat the flowers and shoots of grasses and other plants, and will take fallen apples and plums.


Breeding typically commences in mid-March in the south and west of Europe (late February in Britain), but not till early May in Finland. The nest is usually built in a tree in the fork of a branch or against the trunk, although hedges, ledges on buildings and cliff faces may also be used. The clutch is typically three to five eggs which are usually whitish-buff or greenish-blue and are spotted with red, purple or brown. The eggs are incubated for 12-15 days, mainly by the female.

Calls and Songs

The male has a loud melodious song with fluted whistles, sounding like chewee-trewuu ... trureetruuruu. The main call, given by both sexes, is a dry chattering krrrr, louder when it is alarmed or excited. There is also a squeaky tuk contact call.