Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 54,800,000-87,100,000 pairs, which equates to 110,000,000-174,000,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). It is likely that the global population falls in the band 10,000,000-500,000,000 mature individuals.
In Europe the overall trend from 1980-2013 was increasing (EBCC 2015).
This species inhabits a very wide range of habitats. Its main and original habitat is relatively open broadleaf, coniferous, mixed and deciduous forests but it is also found in tree plantations, orchards, farmland, gardens and parks and commonly in open grassy areas so long as vegetation cover is within a short distance. In Europe it breeds from mid-March to early September, from March to July in most of North Africa, from the end of February to the end of July in Israel, April-July in Afghanistan and March-July in China. The nest is a large cup of dry grass stems and small twigs, packed with mud and lined with fine grass and stems. It is generally sited 0·5–15 m off the ground in a bush or tree or in a climbing plant against a wall, and frequently in or on a wall, outside or inside a building. It is a highly flexible and adaptive forager and feeds principally on invertebrates, mainly earthworms and insects and their larvae but will also take fruits and seeds and, occasionally, small vertebrates. The species is sedentary, partially migratory and fully migratory, depending mainly on latitude (Collar 2015).
Declines in Britain may be owing to agricultural intensification, as decreases are greater on farmland. In the Cantabrian Mountains in Spain, hunting may explain its scarcity, and in the Netherlands declines are possibly a result of lower breeding success. In the western Palearctic other threats include predators, disturbance, adverse weather conditions, nest collapse and starvation (Collar 2015).
Conservation Actions Underway
EU Birds Directive Annex II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within its European range.
Conservation Actions Proposed
The promotion and maintenance of low-intensity farming has been proposed to benefit the species within Europe.
Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Khwaja, N. & Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Turdus merula. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/11/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/11/2019.