Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus


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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to 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.

Population justification
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 4,120,000-8,960,000 pairs, which equates to 8,250,000-17,900,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.60% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 13,750,000-29,800,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification
In Europe, trends from 1980 to 2013 show that populations have undergone a moderate decline (EBCC 2015).


The species requires a mosaic of wooded and open country, and thus inhabits open mature forest, woodland glades, orchards, riverside forest, open grassland with scrub and mountain steppe with shrubs; often penetrating grassy-bracken moorland areas on low craggy hills and mountains at some distance from trees. It is most typically found, in rolling, open landscapes with scattered trees or copses, including parkland and park-like farmland. In western and central Europe, it breeds from late March to late June and from late April in the north. It breeds from late March to July in Afghanistan east to the western Himalayas, In north-west Africa it breeds from March to June. The nest is a large cup of dry grass, plant stems, roots and moss, bound together with mud and lined with fine grasses and sometimes pine needles. Typically it is found two to ten metres up in the fork of a tree and normally lays three to five eggs. It feeds on invertebrates as well as seeds and fruit in the autumn and winter. In the west of its range the species is sedentary or a partial migrant and in the north and east of its range it is more fully migratory (Collar 2015).


In Spain the species suffers pressure from hunting. Finnish populations have suffered from the felling of old growth forest (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997, Collar 2015) as a result of modern forestry practices. Studies in the Netherlands have shown fluctuations in population numbers due to severe winter weather (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997).

Conservation actions

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 species would benefit locally from the restoration and maintenance of low-intensity forestry management.


Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Turdus viscivorus. Downloaded from on 22/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/02/2024.