A song thrush singing whilst perched on a branch against a blue sky

Territory and behaviour

Song thrushes tend to be solitary. Small feeding and roosting aggregations sometimes form at good sites, and those individuals that migrate form large but loosely co-ordinated flocks.

All about territories

Song thrushes establish a breeding territory in the late winter or early spring. The territory is essential for pair formation and nesting, but only a part of the food for the young is obtained from within it.

Territory size varies depending on the habitat, from 0.2-6 hectares, or even more. Territory boundaries break down in the late summer when the last brood has fledged. Most song thrushes in the UK remain in the same area all year.

Winter territories are often established in the late autumn or early winter, although this is variable and dependent on weather and food availability. Many males remain in their previous seasons territory, and a few females hold individual winter territories. 

Song thrushes are sensitive to hard winter weather. Winter territories are abandoned during periods of severe weather, when many birds move southwards, even as far as north-west France and northern Spain. Considerable numbers of Dutch birds spend the winter in the UK.

Song thrush