Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ring Ouzel

Turdus torquatus (male)
The Ring Ouzel is a Thrush that belongs to the very same genus as both the Common Blackbird and the American Robin. They look quite a bit like the Blackbird, and their name "Ouzel" actually comes from an Old English term for that bird. Males can be identified by their black bodies and white chest bands. Their wings also take on a silvery color, due to white feathers at the tips. Females lack the white chest ring, and are duller in appearance.

Ring Ouzels can be found in various parts of Europe. Some populations are migratory, moving to the North to breed, and down south to the Mediterranean in winter. The birds are usually found alone or in pairs, though they will form very loose flocks during migrations.

When breeding season comes, they build small cup-shaped nests in branches or rock piles. Up to four eggs are laid at a time, and they hatch after only two weeks. The young are fledged after another 14 days. This quick breeding cycle allows some birds to raise more than one brood each season.

These birds have an omnivorous diet. During the spring and summer they feed heartily on Earthworms and other invertebrates. However, when fall and winter set in, they eat Juniper berries and other plant materials.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Europe
Size :  Length up to 9.5in (24cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Passeriformes
Family : Turdidae -- Genus : Turdus -- Species : T. torquatus

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