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Common Blackbird

Common Blackbird
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2013-03-13
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2013-03-25 7:53
Viewed: 3440
Points: 60
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
A photo made in my garden.

The Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) is a species of true thrush. It is also called Eurasian Blackbird (especially in North America, to distinguish it from the unrelated New World blackbirds), or simply Blackbird, where this does not lead to confusion with a similar-looking local species.

The Common Blackbird of the nominate subspecies T. m. 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.

Distribution and habitat
The Common Blackbird breeds in temperate Eurasia, North Africa, the Canary Islands, and South Asia. It has been introduced to Australia and New Zealand. Populations are sedentary in the south and west of the range, although northern birds migrate south as far as northern Africa and tropical Asia in winter. Urban males are more likely to overwinter in cooler climes than rural males, an adaptation made feasible by the warmer microclimate and relatively abundant food that allow the birds to establish territories and start reproducing earlier in the year.

Behaviour and ecology
The male Common Blackbird defends its breeding territory, chasing away other males or utilising a "bow and run" threat display. This consists of a short run, the head first being raised and then bowed with the tail dipped simultaneously. If a fight between male Blackbirds does occur, it is usually short and the intruder is soon chased away. The female Blackbird is also aggressive in the spring when it competes with other females for a good nesting territory, and although fights are less frequent, they tend to be more violent.

The male Common Blackbird attracts the female with a courtship display which consists of oblique runs combined with head-bowing movements, an open beak, and a "strangled" low song. The female remains motionless until she raises her head and tail to permit copulation. This species is monogamous, and the established pair will usually stay together as long as they both survive. Pair separation rates of up to 20% have been noted following poor breeding.

Songs and calls
The first-year male Common Blackbird of the nominate race may start singing as early as late January in fine weather in order to establish a territory, followed in late March by the adult male. The male's song is a varied and melodious low-pitched fluted warble, given from trees, rooftops or other elevated perches mainly in the period from March to June, sometimes into the beginning of July. It has a number of other calls, including an aggressive seee, a pook-pook-pook alarm for terrestrial predators like cats, and various chink and chook, chook vocalisations. The territorial male invariably gives chink-chink calls in the evening in an (usually unsuccessful) attempt to deter other Blackbirds from roosting in its territory overnight. Like other passerine birds, it has a thin high seee alarm call for threats from birds of prey since the sound is rapidly attenuated in vegetation, making the source difficult to locate.

The Common Blackbird is omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects, earthworms, seeds and berries. It feeds mainly on the ground, running and hopping with a start-stop-start progress. It pulls earthworms from the soil, usually finding them by sight, but sometimes by hearing, and roots through leaf litter for other invertebrates. Small vertebrates such as frogs, tadpoles and lizards are occasionally hunted. This species will also perch in bushes to take berries and collect caterpillars and other active insects.

Natural threats
Near human habitation the main predator of the Common Blackbird is the domestic cat, with newly-fledged young especially vulnerable. Foxes and predatory birds, such as the Sparrowhawk and other accipiters, also take this species when the opportunity arises.[40][41] However, there is little direct evidence to show that either predation of the adult Blackbirds or loss of the eggs and chicks to corvids, such as the European Magpie or Eurasian Jay, have an impact on population numbers.

Status and conservation
The Common Blackbird has an extensive range, estimated at 10 million square kilometres (3.8 million square miles), and a large population, including an estimated 79 to 160 million individuals in Europe alone.

Source: A summary from Wikipedia

CeltickRanger, maaciejka, senn, jusninasirun, aruntp, Chiza, Pitoncle has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To euroblinkie: takjePeterZ 1 03-25 12:59
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Peter
what a beautiful picture of this Common Blackbird.
great green BG makes this picture more beautiful
with best wishes,

Hello Peter

Very beautiful close-up photo of the Common Blackbird
with its lovely eye-contact with you,
fine POV, excellent contrast of its black
color tones against the background's all
green vegetation color tones, TFS


  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2013-03-25 8:28]

Lovely portrait of this black bird..good perch, very artistic and the background is just fine. tfs.

  • Great 
  • hsn6a Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 160 W: 0 N: 435] (8652)
  • [2013-03-25 9:12]

Hello Peter,
very nice capture blackbird,great photo,thanks..

Hello Peter
Superb photo, great detail despite the dark plumage, good light and nice background.
Good pose too. A fine photo
regards yiannis

Ciao Peter. Impressive details sharp and focus agains the brigh soft BG.


Hi Peter,
nice black bird.A lot of details. Perfect composition.
Thanks for sharing,

Ciao Peter, great capture of lovely blackbird with fantastic eye, beautiful blurry BG, wonderful natural colors, splendid sharpness and fine details, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Mr.Peter,
Sometime few beautiful things stop our speed of walking in real life.Here something has stopped my finger and its for you.
If you capture such beautiful picture who will not click!!!
Excellent in every field.I like it.
Thanks for sharing,
Kind regards,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-03-25 12:34]

Hi Peter,absolutely beautiful! A common bird but taken in the best quality as possible,the plumage detals are really fantastic,great yellow beak too.Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano

hallo Peter
Op het bekende takje in je tuin ?
super mooi genomen met veel scherpe en mooie achtergrond van het gras
kleuren zijn weer prachtig
bedankt gr lou

  • Great 
  • senn Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 58 W: 2 N: 155] (1384)
  • [2013-03-25 13:40]

great capture of this faithful visitor of our backyards, .. subject is sumptuously presented before a perfectly controlled green bg, .. like this, Peter

regards, nuri :)


  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-03-25 18:50]

Hello Peter,
What a wonderful image of this attractive Common Blackbird. The all black plumage makes it a real challenge when trying to get correct exposure and good detail, but you pulled it off perfectly. I love it's orange eye ring and bill as they add character to the subject. Super job!!

Hello Peter.
Lovely blackbird perched nicely on this little twig. Not an easy bird to have plumage details when it's black but you have done really well with beautiful sharpness and fine details.
Thanks for sharing and have a nice day.

really beautiful species. i am seeing this bird for the first time. unique it is. photograph has excellent clarity with wonderful background and angle. tfs.

Hello Peter,
Excellent photograph of Common Blackbird, excellent sharpness and details, excellent composition, excellent background and lighting.

  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2013-03-26 2:58]

Hi Peter,

Beautiful capture of the male Blackbird. I like it shown in soft light with the green background.



wonderful composition create with a very good performance a fine photo!
regards Peter

Hello Peter,
Another amazing capture,nicely focused and outstanding sharp details, a beautiful composition with a lovely soft BG.
Thanks and best regards,

Boa tarde Peter
Excellent "studio" conditions for the best result.Wonderful clean BG,perfect POV and composition,wonderful colour combination and impressive sharpness.Beautiful!
Thank You
Have a good day!
Best regards

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2013-03-26 13:07]

Hello Peter,
The male Blackbird is great, taken from a fine POV with fine sharpness, especially the eye and plumage and the colours are fantastic but hat really makes this capture good is the clean green BG, perhaps a totally OOF lawn.
Thanks and best regards from a cold, snow-covered Sweden.

  • Great 
  • Chiza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 133 W: 0 N: 474] (5351)
  • [2013-03-26 16:14]

Hola Peter, que belleza de foto y de especie que nos muestra con lujo de detalles, excelente luz, enfoque, contacto con el ojo, entorno y fondo verde...saludos.

Beautiful photo Peter! Nice pose, very good composition, wonderful colours and impressive sharpness. The green BG is fantastic!

Hello Peter,
a very nice bird,very nice capture,regards..

Bonjour Peter,
Très belle publication valorisant le sujet dans une lumière bien maitrisée.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

  • Great 
  • Cobo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 236 W: 1 N: 535] (5799)
  • [2013-03-27 9:17]

A very good picture of this black bird with an excellent background. Congratulation. Saludos.

Hello Peter,
A terrific close-up with such fine coloration, sharpness & pose. Excellent composition & fine POV. Great work & TFS. Best wishes!


Hello Peter,
great Picture of the Common Blackbird with good sharpness and lovely details like the yellow margin around its eye.
Happy Easter!

  • Great 
  • waylim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 296 W: 8 N: 489] (1765)
  • [2013-04-08 11:39]

Hi Peter,

Excellent photo. I find it very difficult to photo black or dark color bird, especially small one against bright background. You did a really wonderful job here. Love all the detail in the plumage and feature of the bird.


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