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The common blackbird of the nominate subspecies Turdus merula merula is 23.5 to 29 centimetres in length, has a long tail, and weighs 80–125 grammes. The adult male has glossy black plumage, blackish-brown legs, a yellow eye-ring and an orange-yellow bill. The bill darkens somewhat in winter. The adult female is sooty-brown with a dull yellowish-brownish bill, a brownish-white throat and some weak mottling on the breast. The juvenile is similar to the female, but has pale spots on the upperparts, and the very young juvenile also has a speckled breast. Young birds vary in the shade of brown, with darker birds presumably males. The first year male resembles the adult male, but has a dark bill and weaker eye ring, and its folded wing is brown, rather than black like the body plumage.
Common over most of its range in woodland, the common blackbird has a preference for deciduous trees with dense undergrowth. However, gardens provide the best breeding habitat with up to 7.3 pairs per hectare, with woodland typically holding about a tenth of that density, and open and very built-up habitats even less. The common blackbird occurs up to 1000 metres in Europe, 2300 metres in North Africa, and at 900–1820 metres in peninsular India and Sri Lanka, but the large Himalayan subspecies range much higher, with Turdus merula maximus breeding at 3200–4800 metres and remaining above 2100 metres even in winter. This widespread species has occurred as a vagrant in many locations in Eurasia outside its normal range, but records from North America are normally considered to involve escapees, including, for example, the 1971 bird in Quebec. However, a 1994 record from Bonavista, Newfoundland has been accepted as a genuine wild bird, and the species is therefore on the North American list.
A male common blackbird spotted in Deventer, Holland. (sources:see reference)
Spotted on Jul 20, 2014
Submitted on Aug 9, 2014
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