Eurasian Blackbird

The common blackbird was the first European bird I was able to recognize just by its song. Of course, if you’re a fan of Lennon-McCartney, you’re probably able to do it too!

AKA: le merle noir (FR), de merel (NL) , and Turdus Merula in latin


Blackbirds have a beautiful flute-like song. When threatened, they have three different alerts, a “tak tak” to express displeasure, a “duk duk” to announce a threat on the ground (like a cat), and a “tsieh” sound to announce an airborne threat (a falcon, for example).


Blackbirds are omnivores. While they may visit your feeders, you’re more likely to find them hopping along the ground as they steal from your compost pile and hunt for prey on your lawn. They’re not shy in the least and will often perch on a rooftop to start and end the day with a song.

Habitat and distribution:

Blackbirds prefer deciduous trees with leafy undergrowth but are perfectly content in gardens and near habitations. They’re one of the most common backyard birds in Belgium.

Distinctive features:

The male is easy to identify with his glossy black feathers, bright orange beak and the striking yellow-orange ring around his eye, the larger and more striking the ring, the older and more experienced the bird! The female is drab beige and brown but is more or less the same size as the male.

Male Blackbird ( Terdus Merula )
A male blackbird, puffed up to stay warm in the snow
Female Blackbird ( Terdus Merula )
A beautiful female blackbird waiting for me to refill my seed dish


I’m trying to create a series of reference pages for the species I encounter most often on my nature walks. If you’d like to try it out, you can download my page at this link, print it out on thick paper and laminate it for an easy on-the-spot reference when you’re in the field.


EBird, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology,


Nicolai Jürgen, et al. Birds of Britain & Europe. HarperCollins, 2001.




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