Common Blackbird: Features, food, captivity and more


The blackbirds (Turdus merula) are intelligent and affectionate animals that must always live in freedom, in their natural habitat. But sometimes we must keep them in captivity. It would be the case of the offspring that we can find outside their nest and who do not know how to stand up for themselves by not being able to feed themselves, but, also, adults who need an injury or illness may need help.

In this Animal Expert article we will focus on common blackbird feeding as a fundamental part of his recovery before releasing him. Do you have a blackbird in captivity rescued? Do not you know what is the best food for blackbirds? So this article interests you, read on!

Characteristics of the common blackbird

The blackbird is a common bird in Europe. Presents sexual dimorphism, which means that the female and the male are different with the naked eye. Thus, the male is totally black and has a yellow-orange beak and eye ring, while the female is dark brown and has a brown beak. Its size is about 25 centimeters in length.

They are insectivores, so they are provided with a thin and elongated beak, and breed during the months of April and May, making nests in bushes, hedges, sheds, piled firewood, etc. The nest is made with varied materials. They lay about 4-6 eggs. They also accept to feed on berries, caterpillars, mollusks and even human food.

The young at birth do not know how to fly or feed themselves, being totally dependent on their parents, who share their care. The eggs, mottled and bluish in color, hatch at approximately 2 weeks after laying and another 2 weeks later the young leave the nest, remaining hidden in the ground. The young develop the ability to fly and feed themselves at the same time. The still immature male is black with the blackish beak. Its habitat are gardens, hedges, low hills, woodlands, etc. We will see in the next section the importance of feeding the common blackbird for the young.

How to feed a newborn blackbird>

As we said, blackbirds are insectivorous birds, although they may consume some other food. During their first weeks of life they are fed directly by their parents, who they introduce food inside the mouth. The little ones stay in the nest, opening their beaks every time adults approach. Without their parents their survival would be impossible, since they alone do not know how to use the beak to get food.

That is why it is vitally important, if we find a blackbird breeding outside its nest and lost, without the possibility of returning with its parents, that we feed it as we will explain. First we must make a brood paste with the following ingredients:

  • I think for cats
  • Boiled egg
  • Bread crumbs
  • Water

The preparation of pasta is as follows:

  1. We cover a handful of feed with warm water until it softens so that we can easily crush it with a cutlery.
  2. Cook the egg and remove the shell.
  3. We crush the egg and the feed and mix them.
  4. We add breadcrumbs until the pasta is solid enough to be able to catch it with tweezers, but without it being too hard.
  5. Administer at room temperature.

We can keep it covered in a glass container and we must make a new one every day, even if we get over it.

How to make a pigeon open its beak?

It may happen that the bird does not open the beak to feed, something frequent if it has been previously fed by its parents. Here we explain how to administer the brood paste to feed a newborn blackbird chicken, taking into account the following indications:

  1. The most difficult thing is to get the little blackbird to identify us as an adult of its kind and, consequently, open its mouth. At the beginning it is normal for us to have to open our mouths very delicately, which we can do by gently pressing both sides of the corners of the beak.
  2. With our mouths open, we will introduce the pasta with tweezers as far back as possible, always with great care.
  3. Once the bird connects our clamps with food, which usually happens after the first day, it will open its mouth as soon as it sees us.
  4. We must give the pasta approximately every two hours, being able to rest during the period of darkness.
  5. You have to give it, in each shot, the necessary times until we see that you are satisfied and stop asking for food.

This paste is recommended for insectivorous birds, so it fits the correct diet of the common blackbird. If the breeding we collect from the street is of another species or we have doubts we can always consult a specialist. Of course, we should only pick up a baby if it is not possible to meet with her parents and her life is in danger.

How to feed a blackbird in captivity>

If we pick up a injured blackbird the feeding will be much simpler, since they can eat alone. We can search the market for insectivorous paste, grain food for insectivores and we can even acquire insects directly, such as worm larvae among others. These products can be found in physical stores of pet products, online stores and in veterinary clinics for exotic animals.

In addition to feeding the common blackbird, it is important to observe the following recommendations for your care:

  • If we have found a baby blackbird, we must install it in a cardboard box of the appropriate dimensions. This box will keep it at a good temperature and, in addition, will isolate it from external stimuli that may scare you. We can also use it to transport it. We will keep the box normally open and only close it, always leaving openings for air to pass, when necessary. In a cardboard box will not hurt.
  • In its box it is recommended that we install a stick sufficient for its size, placed at medium height and that it crosses it from side to side. The blackbird will love perching on him to trill, eat and rest.
  • On the floor of the box we can put soakers or any material that protects the cardboard and can be removed and replenished to keep the floor always clean.
  • We can put the box in an elevated place, because they like to be at a certain height and, in addition, so you can practice flight when the time comes.
  • You have to keep in mind that they will make their dispositions for any place, since they do not get used to using a certain surface or place.
  • We can deworm it (in fact, without deworming internally, we can hear them coughing if they are infested), always consulting products and doses with a specialized veterinarian.
  • If we pick up a shabby adult, you will need veterinary assistance, which we can obtain at a clinic with a veterinarian trained in birds or at our nearest wildlife recovery center. In these cases we must keep them in a wide cage to avoid stress and anxiety.

We should also know that blackbird pups begin to be able to feed themselves and fly practically at the same time, when they have some two weeks of life. From that moment we can plan your release. If it is an adult blackbird we can release it once it recovers from the damage that prevented it from fending for itself. In the next section we will see how to take this step with guarantees.

How to release an adult bird?

After reviewing the food of the common blackbird and its basic care, we will see what to do to be able to return it to wildlife. As we commented, the first step is that the young know how to feed itself and fly or that the adult is fully restored.

If we have taken care of a baby blackbird, it is important that you do not interact more than with a person since, otherwise, you run the risk of getting used to and having difficulties once you live in freedom, because you could approach who should not be so much if we talk about People like other animals. We must look for a wildlife recovery center, it will be in these facilities where you can take the reintroduction to the environment with guarantees, especially if we are talking about a baby.

In these places they will ring the blackbird and transfer it to an enclosed area to develop the ability to catch their own food. Once it has been proven that it can feed itself, it will only leave you free access to the outside so you can adapt to your new life while still having a safe food source.

If you want to read more articles similar to Common Blackbird Feeding, we recommend that you enter our Basic Care section.

Appearance of the male

The male of this species or common blackbird, is very different from the female because of the color, this is why this species is considered with a sexual dimorphism, since the male has an intense black color that covers all its plumage, from the small ones feathers from its head to its legs, which change its hue, the rest of its body, is black, its wings are also of a uniform color.

But the common blackbird is completely black, because its legs are brown, not very distinguishable by the black of its body, because the amount is greater, but its legs are long and have fine fingers just like brown.

But so much black color would make this cute bird look strangely, that is why nature was responsible for giving one beautiful eyes, it has an orange or yellow ring around it.

The peak of the common male blackbird, is the most important to distinguish this species, because it is a beautiful color that contrasts with its plumage and round eyes, the beak of this cute bird is intense and elongated yellow, it is very important that To name the common blackbird, it has the yellow eye and eye rings.

Appearance of the female

The aspects of the common female, are a little different from that of the male, since it does not have such a bright and distinguishing peak

The eyes of the female are dark and round, have thin legs and the beak is black, but this black is not intense, but rather aged, this means that the female is more opaque than the male in all its aspects , it can be confused with the Chochin, which has characteristics similar to this bird.

Despite its difference in colors does not mean that they are not the same species, on the contrary it is wonderful that despite its difference in colors, it should be noted that the male in this case is the most beneficial, because it is more striking than the female who is a little serious next to the male.

Appearance of the youngest

Young birds or babies of this species have a uniform color, and this is very similar.

It can take up to a year to achieve the plumage or plumage color appropriate to your sex, this happens between the months of August and October, after spending the time mentioned above.

These birds, when growing, may have different anomalies, as there are cases such as in Great Britain, where common blackbirds have been observed with white spots between their plumage, but this is only an anomaly or it can be considered a disease, since there is a species Bird of common blackbirds that have a totally white bird is called white blackbird, this species is often confused with the anomalies of common blackbirds.

As you can see the characteristics of these species are very important, to be able to appreciate these birds, which can be confused with birds of the same species or even with other species of birds, which in turn share the color of their plumage between Other features

Video of the features and the song of the female blackbird and song of the male blackbird.

Common Blackbird Feeding

Common blackbird feeding and knowing what do blackbirds eatIt is very important because they share a very nutritious diet for both sexes, this food is called omnivorous, they feed on different fruits, insects, and worms from forests, trees, soil, or any other space.

Normally they move along the floors to get the food for blackbirds, most birds feed from trees, or even from trees.

But in the case of the common blackbird, it is different take advantage of the leaves collected

In winter they usually feed on fruits, if they lack insects, they do not suffer on the contrary quickly change their diet and begin to feed on the fruits of the soil or those of the same trees, as well as the same seeds.

The common blackbird uses different strategies to get its food, when it is a little difficult to dig between the ground or the leaves, it begins to jump to scare away and make your food leave the hiding place, run, jump, from one side to the other causing insects leave their hiding place, like butterflies for example, these birds have a great view, they can detect their food from approximate distances,

But they don't just use their eyes to get their food on the contrary, they use all their feelings

These birds feed on worms, as well as invertebrates such as spiders, myiopods, snails and slugs, other species such as vertebrates among which the common blackbird can feed we have tadpoles, adult amphibians, or lizards, among others species such as small rodents, caterpillars, and among the fruits enjoyed by the common blackbird are apples and strawberries.

In Europe, these birds have a very similar diet, such as blackberries, aligustre berries, cherries, and blackberries, these are just some of the foods of the common blackbird, since the feeding of the birds is very varied and wide.

These birds spend most of their time in search of food, when they are in breeding season the male looks for more food to woo the female and conquer it through the food.

Normally they are looking for food in most of their time, and they share long flights, not only on the ground they manage to get food, when they are flying they can feed on flying insects, these birds must be very fed to be attentive at all times. I recommend you see this article about the best Wood Bird Feeders

While hunting their food, they must be very attentive since a minimum distraction can be crucial to be hunted by their predators.


The breeding season of the common blackbird begins from the month of March to the month of August, this is a very important time for each animal species, since it must be used to increase the population of its species in the case of the common blackbird has a great season since they can do up to three nests at each time.

These birds before the laying of the eggs look for where to make their nests, try to be in abundant places of vegetation, so that they are facilitated to feed the blackbird pups.

When the female accepts it, they begin to perform the blackbird nest and look for a place to mate comfortably. I recommend you see this article about the best Nests for Birds That will surely interest you.

Video about blackbird chicks common.


He female and male blackbird they are in charge of looking for the construction materials, with their beak and their legs they are assembled, very carefully and placed in safe places, so that they are not seen by predators and at the same time they are resistant at the time that the chicks Be inside it.

The common blackbirds after they have the nest ready for their next chicks are responsible for mating, at the time they are mating they are very romantic and they like to be alone, it should be noted that before they approached intimately, the male had to perform acts of responsibility showing the female that it is the best hunting, looking for food so that the female feels safe from the father of her chicks.


The courtship of these beautiful birds, is very important, because they enjoy a show both sexes before mating, when the male manages to conquer the female this proceeds to perform the dance before the act of mating, it is very similar to the common coal, which The female also waits for the male to mate.

At the beginning the male begins to make oblique races, which are combined with some movements of the head dedicated to the female, at the same time they begin to open the beak and make a very deep cato, around the female.

While the male makes his praises towards the female, she remains in total immobility, until she feels ready for mating, they raise their heads affirming the male that they will be able to mate at that time, it is important to highlight that it is a monogamous species, They only mate with only one female.

Video of the common blackbird feed.


The female lays between four eggs, which incubates for two weeks, these common blackbird eggs They are greenish blue and of a small size approximately 2.9 by 2.1 cm and the weight of these eggs is 8 grams on average.

After hatching, babies are born naked without feathers on the day they were born.

Both parents will be responsible for feeding and caring for the chicks for approximately two weeks these birds are very neat, and since these chicks are born, they are responsible not only for feeding them but also for keeping the nest clean, these birds are responsible for teaching their birds Chicks to fly, and look for their own food.

The chicks of these species at the beginning have a little difficult flight, they begin to beat the wings little by little until they reach the flight, but this is a job of each chicks that will have to face every day that is in the nest until I managed to fly correctly, although they did not take long to learn, because two weeks after they were born they were already flying with their parents, at the beginning they were low flights, eventually taking more confidence they fly higher.

These birds are placed among the vegetation to protect themselves from predators, at first the parents protect them but must teach them where to hide and at what time to leave.

The chicks leave the nests between 19 days after birth, and by this time they must have a weight of 70 to 80 grams, it is for this reason that the common blackbird can have up to four nests at a time of reproduction, because the chicks leave very soon the nest, to begin to make a life of its own.

These birds reach sexual maturity when they turn one year old, while the mother is incubating another nest if the chicks have not left, the father is responsible for feeding and caring for them.

Distribution and habitat

This black bird with orange beak it is distributed throughout different parts of the planet earth, specifically in Europe, in Africa and in Asia, they are frequently observed in crops of different types, they can be seen in urban and suburban areas, as well as in coffee plantations, in beautiful and large gardens, in the wide forests, in trees in Cañizares and in other abundant places of vegetation.

Baby blackbird or blackbird chick

The habitat of these birds is of the utmost importance for them, usually they are observed in wide and wooded places, the common blackbird is usually in trees in shrubs and in extensive plains.

In Europe this species is replaced by the white capi blackbird, although common blackbirds are also found, these birds can be found up to 2000 meters above sea level in Africa, 1000 meters above sea level in Europe, and 800 meters in Lanka, and 900 meters in Peninsular India.

I mentioned earlier that the common blackbird is a migratory bird, it is understood that during the breeding season they normally travel in search of a better climate, they can travel south or west of the distribution area, they usually go from north to south for Africa or even tropical Asia.

These birds have the ability to fly great distances, as they do not tend to travel in large groups, rather small groups that travel at night with fast flutters from side to side.

In Europe there is an approximate population of 79 and 160 million common blackbirds, in Germany between 8 and 16 million of these birds can be found, in France there are several tens of millions of these beautiful birds, and in the Kingdom A />

The population of common blackbirds is quite abundant, although it is equally important that the green areas remain in abundance for the life of these birds as well as other species.

Threats and life expectancy of the common blackbird

The life expectancy of the common blackbird is approximately 5 years, although this life time is only approximate, since these birds die at 2 and a half years due to several factors that are linked to the loss of their chicks either by death Natural, like the one explained in previous sections, the last chicks to be born at least one of them dies due to lack of food and nutrition, while others can die from predators.

But as I said, those who manage to survive and overcome obstacle by obstacle in their v />

The main predator of the common blackbird is the domestic cat, or other animals with claws that can devour the common blackbird, such as the fox, the ermine, the raptors, the garduña among other predators that unfortunately take the lives of these beautiful birds.

These birds can live in captivity although the best spaces for the life of the common blackbird is its natural habitat.

He blackbird in captivity It has a life record of 21 years, this can be denoted in a very wide care or in captivity, but it is very unlikely.

Flying Blackbird

The common blackbird not only dies from predators or child death, they have other factors such as deforestation, burning, urban planning and changes in their natural habitats, other consequences are diseases, 88% suffer from intestinal parasites, such as isospora or capilleria, some usually recover and continue their normal life, with the intake of seeds and nuts, others do not run with the same fate and die.

It is important to highlight that the common blackbird is in the national catalog of endangered species, it is very important that the natural states are conserved so that the birds of the forests can have a complete life cycle and can reproduce effectively.

Before I leave I leave you one last video about the sounds that this beautiful bird emits.

5 comments on “Common Blackbird: Features, food, captivity>

Hi. First of all, tell him that I loved his website. I am a bird lover (I have been living with a lovebird for seven years) and I am curious to know things about the birds that live with us in the urban environment. And about this last one is my question. In the area where I live, there are many blackbirds. Apart from the fact that they dig in the pots to look for food and leave everything lost of earth ..., a few days ago. In the early morning, we heard some noise coming from the roof, as if someone wanted to lift a tile. When we went outside, we saw that the cause of this noise was a blackbird. My question is: Is there any risk that these animals want to gnaw a tile and pretend to nest there? The roof is exposed to the sun all day, particularly that area.
Thank you very much for your response and congratulations on the web.

Thanks for your words Pepa!
With regard to your comment, I do not think that you try to nest in that place, because they prefer the freshest trees and places, however, be aware, and if you see sticks or twigs around, this means that if you are preparing to make your nest !

Hello, a blackbird has made a nest in a pot in my window and has 3 eggs. The female has never come.
Can I help you in any way?
Thank you. Nuria

Blackbird love. I have raised one when I still did not open my eyes, and it has been a wonderful, intelligent, precious and loving animal. Two days ago the grim reaper came after him after almost 5 years making my life happy. Goodbye forever!

Goodbye Cristina, we are very glad that you had the pleasure of sharing 5 years with him, it is an excellent bird. Regards.