The Fieldfare is a European native bird (of the thrush family of birds) that migrates throughout Northern Europe and Asia. There are many types of thrush birds that look similar to one another, but there are certain key ways to identify a bird as a fieldfare by simply looking at its physical attributions, its noises, diet and habitat.
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The first way to identify any bird, including the fieldfare, is to check for colour, markings and size. While many birds will have a wide range of sexual dimorphism, the fieldfare males and females look very similar, making it easy to know if you've spotted one. A fieldfare is a small bird (about 25cm long) and will have a grey behind, crowns and nape of the neck. The belly and under the wings will be white. The chest is the most recognisable because it's a reddish or orange area. The breast is also spotted, as are the sides of the bird close to the belly. The only difference in the female is that the colours may look a bit muted.
If you've spotted a bird that you think may be a fieldfare, another way to identify the bird is by the sound it makes. This chattering bird will sing often, and usually will be a medley of whistles. However, the bird will make a "chack" sound quickly, mostly when flying and migrating for the winter. These noises are for finding other Fieldfares and calling for them.
If you've seen a red-breasted bird making chack noises, but you're living in Indiana, you haven't seen a fieldfare. Fieldfares can be found in Europe and Asia. The Scandinavia fieldfare breeds in Norway and Iceland, among other Scandinavian countries, and the nests will be found mainly in these countries. The nests are often found in birch or pine trees. During the winter months, many Fieldfares will leave Scandinavia and migrate to the U.K. and Ireland. There are not many nests in those areas, however, because they are not breeding or laying eggs during this time. Many fieldfares stay in their home country year-round.
Another key identifier of the Fieldfare is to watch what they eat. The Fieldfare is an omnivorous bird, which means that it eats both animals and plants. In this case, the omnivorous diet consists of insects and berries. Worms are also a main staple of the Fieldfare diet. Worms and insects are important for the protein for long-term energy in the cold Scandinavian weather. A favourite berry type of these birds is the Pyracantha Berry.
If you haven't spotted a fieldfare, you may have seen a bird that looks and acts quite similarly. The fieldfare is part of the "trush" family of birds. Most thrushes have grey heads and similar-shaped and coloured markings to one-another. The blackbird female looks very similar to a fieldfare, for instance, because of its spotted brown breast. However, the blackbird is smaller with a darker beak than the fieldfare. The song thrush is similar to the fieldfare, also, but with an orange underwing colour instead of white.
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