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How to tell the difference between redwings and fieldfares

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Posted: Tuesday 7th November 2017 by bbowtblog

Fieldfare by Don Sutherland, redwing by Margaret Holland

In autumn and winter you can see large, mixed flocks of thrushes feeding in fields and hedgerows. Here's how to tell the difference between two of our winter visitors.

Redwings (Turdus iliacus) and fieldfares (Turdus pilaris) breed in northern Europe. They winter in the UK to escape the harsh, continental weather, arriving here from late September and staying until spring.

Look out for them feeding in large flocks in fields, scrub, farmland and hedgerows. Occassionally they will come into gardens and particularly like feeding on fallen apples. 

They have very different calls: redwings call 'seep, seep, seep', some say it sounds similar to a squeaky bike wheel. Listen out for them at night as they migrate into the UK. Fieldfares call 'chack, chack, chack'. Have a listen to these recordings from Xeno Canto.

See our infographic for some visual clues to tell redwings and fieldfares apart.


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