PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. blackbird
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  • Scientific Name:  Turdus merula
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  More than one in Europe and Asia.  One in Australia.
  • Origin / Distribution:  Europe and Asia
  • Habitat In Wild:  Open forest and secondary vegetation.  Cleared areas and farmlands.  Have adapted well to residential areas, urban parks, gardens and orchards.
  • Status In Wild:  Common.  One of the most common birds in Europe.  In Australia the Blackbird can be found flying free in Victoria, Tasmania, south east part of South Australia and the lower half of New South Wales.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Very few bred in aviaries.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  Less than 12 months.
  • Adult plumage: attained at about ? months  
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  12 months onwards.
  • Lifespan (estimate):  approx. 10 years.  Usually less than 10 years in the wild. 
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic  The cock bird is an all black bird with a yellow beak.
  • Colour mutations: Yes.  Part albino birds can be seen in the wild and albino birds can purchased for aviary breeding.
  • Availability:  Very few bred in aviaries.  Very few people have bred these birds.  Most people just take a few young from the wild and the birds usually adapt to aviary life very quickly.
  • Temperament:  Very active birds. Need a lot of insects in their diet.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $20
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 250 - 270 mm (or approx. 10 - 11 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. ? gms (or approx. ? ozs)

The Blackbird is a member of the Thrush family.  Blackbirds were released in Melbourne, Victoria in 1862 by the Zoological Acclimatization Society of Victoria.

Aviary Notes:

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws:  Refer to "Government Laws" web page.

Housing Requirements: Click on "Housing birds" web page for general details on the housing of  Softbills or read on for specific details for this finch.

Typical planted finch aviary is ideal.  3 metres  x 1 metre x 2.1 metres high.

Diet / Feeding: Click on "Feeding birds" web page for general details on the nutrition of  Softbills or read on for specific details for this finch.

Spends most of its feeding time on the ground searching for insects and worms.

Natural diet includes insects, fruits, berries and worms.  Captive breeding birds require a large quantity of insects.  Suitable insects include mealworms, crickets, cockroaches, small locusts and any insects commonly found in a garden that wild birds eat.

Nesting: A basic overview only.

  • Roosting nest:  No
  • Nesting months:  September to January
  • Nesting receptacles:  Build a cup shaped nest. Will build a nest in a low bush. Will build a nest on any ledge wide enough to support a nest.
  • Nest:  Built a large cup shaped nest out of grasses and assorted plant materials held together with mud.  Nest is lined with soft fine grasses.
  • Who incubates the eggs: Hen / cock / both share.

Breeding: Egg Colour ? Cutch/s per year 2 - 4.  Eggs per nest 2 - 4.  Incubation approx. ? days.  Fledge approx. ? days/weeks.  Independent approx. another ? weeks.  Both parents feed the young.

The young grow at a fast rate and consume lots of insects.  It costs more to feed a captive pair of Blackbirds than they are worth in dollar terms.  They will need about 100 insects per young, per day while the young are in the nest.  A pair with a typical nest of young could easily require at least 2 kilograms of insects to adequately feed the young from hatching till the young fledge.

Very few people can say they have bred and raised aviary Blackbirds.  It is not as easy as many people think it is.  The young grow at a rapid rate and require a lot of protein foods, i.e. insects.  They are a large bird and need a large aviary.  Each clutch can be 4 young and they can happily raise 4 clutches per season in an aviary.

Will build a nest in a low bush.  Equally they will build in a wide variety of structures such as sheds, vines, and houses/buildings with a ledge just wide enough for a nest.

Artificial incubation, hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site.  It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.  Refer "Specific References" as listed below and "General References" listings.

Health Issues: Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new birds or sick birds are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site. Refer above option - "Avian Health Issues" web page.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace.  Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References:  Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture

  • A/A Vol 25 No. 5 May 1971 Page 61.
  • A/A Vol 22 No 2 Feb 1968 Page 24-25.
  • Australian Birdkeeper

Top of - blackbird - Page is one of the world's largest and most informative avian or bird web sites.  Copyright 2002 - 2008 inc.  All rights reserved.  Disclaimer:  This web site has been compiled from material provided from a large number of sources.  Personal experience and personal contacts have been used.  Results vary according to factors such as environmental factors, aviary design and the physical and genetic backgrounds of all living birds/animals.  Every endeavour has been made to ensure the accuracy of the material but no responsibility is accepted by  for the accuracy of the material on this web site. The intent of this web site is to provide a "care sheet"  format and provide general material only.  Readers should rely upon their own enquiries in making any decisions relating to their own interests.