How long does the "average" blackbird live?


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How long does the "average" blackbird live?

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I know there are countless factors to consider, but what is the average lifespan of a male blackbird in the wild? My garden resident blackbird will be 6 years old this summer at the very youngest - I have photographic evidence of him being a fully grown adult in summer 2005, which means he was born in 2004 at the earliest (I know it's him because he has some very distinctive white feathers on his head) - he may have been around before that but that's when I got my camera, so no evidence from before then (and my memory isn't that good!).


I was just curious as to whether he's doing well, age-wise?

Here he is in a picture from a couple of years ago, he always looks scruffy but I love him :)

All Replies
  • The average is around 3 years so he is doing pretty well for himself!

  • Anna, he's lovely. I adore scruffy looking birds. You must really be looking after him very well. Well done!

  • That was an interesting question, I too have a well recognised Blackie that has been around for years. It must be what we feed them Anna

  • You have obviously been feeding hime well and providing for his every need.  It is surprising how many blackbirds have some white on them

    Keep it up


  • the one that spends lots of time  in our garden will be 4 this year as far as we know.  He now takes food from OH,  from turkey on boxing day to nibbling at fruit pellets. I know we shouldn't but he just sits on the back door step about half seven in the morning - waiting,  Will try for a photo tomorrow

  • Hi Anna

    Not sure I can answer your question properly but we had a pair of blackbirds who for at least 5 years nested in our garden and successfully raised 2 or 3 broods a year.  Like yours, they had distinctive markings so you couldn't miss them.

    Interesting to note, I have an old birding book written by Tony Soper who has given an account of different species with exceptional ages of survival and the blackbird was top at 14 years!!!! 

  • According to an RSPB book of mine, it says up to 5 years for a Blackbird.  But when their every need is catered for who's to say :o)

    He's a lovely looking Blackbird though, I bet he's a character!  We have a patchy one too and at the top of the street there's on with one white tail feather.

  • Average life expectancy for a Blackbird in the wild is about 2.5 years. The record is 20 years though.

  • Hi Annabanana, I have just recieved my rspb welcome pack, and in it is the handbook of British birds it's the second edition, and in this book it says, the oldest Blackbird survived over 20 years, so you could have him for a long while yet.

  • A lot of it depends on what you call life expectancy for a bird. Only just over a half of all fledglings survive to breeding age, but those that do, will see their average annual survival chances increase to anything up to 70%. A bit of number crunching will give the total life expectancy of those individuals that reach adulthood to be around 3.5 years. Life expectancy for an average fledgling will be a lot lower than that. The oldest verified record of a blackbird I have found in literature is 21 years 10 months.

  • Great picture of your Blackbird, Anna.  He looks a real character as they are.

    How old does a Blackbird live - hard question!  I think it is a lot to do with the health, hazards, environment, weather that affects the lifespan of a blackbird.  There are so many obsticles that get in the way of any bird these days.

    i have had one which lived to 3 years old and after I moved he lived on to see another day.

    A friend told me she had one that lived to 7 years old.

    Trochilus: I have heard of the age of a Blackbird going up to 20 years old.  Must have been a well looked after one.


    Kathy and Dave


  • The BTO's BirdFacts section is an excellent source of information on bird "statistics" - lots of blackbird info here:

  • Hi Elibee

    Thank you for the link

    It stated 3 years is the lifespan of a Blackbird with BTO's 'up to date'  information.  Maximun 14 year 2 months

    Hmm 3 years...I thought it was longer but there you go.  They seen such successful birds, and have adapted well to environmental changes over the years. 

    Not many birds like to be in urban/city gardens as much as a Blackbird does, along with a friendly dispostion towards people too.

    I have heards of people saying that Blackbirds behave like their domestic pets rather than a wild animal.



    Kathy and Dave


    The BTO's BirdFacts section is an excellent source of information on bird "statistics" - lots of blackbird info here:


  • Hi Kathy,

    yes Blackbirds certainly seem to be characters don't they?  As for people saying they're like their pets well that doesn't surprise me at all!  They're like a bigger Robin in the sense that they're very happy around people.

    I've never tried to befriend any of my Blackbirds like that as everywhere I go I have Bobby in tow and although most of the birds don't bother about me they're not so sure about him.  Saying that most of the Blackbirds who come here ignore him.

    I agree that we can just guess really at what age a Blackbird lives to, we see what the oldest ones have lived to but I'd say that wouldn't be like that in most places!  They don't fall prey to Sparrowhawks around here so I'm guessing they'd have to be wary of cats and that's about it in the way of predators.

    Other than "The Boss" who's been around for a while, I can't say I've ever had consistent regular Blackbirds other than her.  Having said that though, if you're not paying too much attention its easy just to say "oh its a Blackbird" rather than "oh its so-and-so who's been coming here x years".


    Sorry for rambling on!