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Passeriformes - Common Blackbird
Topic Started: Nov 20 2013, 03:39 AM (3,537 Views)
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Common Blackbird ~ Turdus merula

Posted Image

General Information

Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Turdidae
Genus: Turdus
Species: merula

The Common Blackbird breeds in temperate Eurasia, North Africa, the Canary Islands, and South Asia.

Conservation Status
Posted Image

Weight125 g
Length (average)29 cm
Height (average)<--->

In Zoos

Type of Exhibit: Blackbirds are best kpt in a medium aviary. An outdoor aviary is better than a large cage, as the birds are more stimulated by the surrounding environment. Make sure the aviary has small gaps i nthe fence and also that is partially buried to prevent rodents access. Blackbirds are partially arboreal, so provide them with a good amount os perches, ranging from horizontal poles, to small plants and branches. A nest box should be provided for them to breed, but they'll also nest in small shrubs. Wild European Blackbirds forage by tossing dead leaves aside to reveal hidden insects, and they won't loose this behaviour in captivity, so it's good to have dead leaves scattered on the floor of the aviary. Fresh water should be always available and cleaned often, as they often bath in it.

Temperament: Blackbirds are active and curious birds. Captive animals will soon get used to human presence.

Diet: These attractive songsters are insect specialists, but also take a great deal of fruit at certain times of the year.  A highly varied diet, packed with insects and other protein-rich foods, is essential if you want to keep your birds in peak color and condition.
Pets fare well on high-quality commercial insectivorous bird food into which has been mixed Softbill Select, Myna Pellets, hard-boiled egg and some cooked ground beef.
European Blackbirds relish grasshoppers, katydids, earthworms, crickets, spiders, sow bugs, beetles, termites, moths, mealworms, waxworms, maggots, silkworms – almost any invertebrate, in other words!
Canned snails, grasshoppers and silkworms, marketed for use with captive reptiles, are a convenient means of increasing the nutritional content of Blackbird diets. 
Fresh fruit, including figs, apples, plums, grapes, pears, berries and seasonally available varieties, should be offered daily; squash, cucumbers, carrots and cooked yams should also be tried.  Your bird will likely enjoy prepared fruit/vegetable based “cook-and-serve” foods formulated for large parrots.
Increase the amount of insects when the birds are raising their chicks.
Wild European Blackbirds forage by tossing dead leaves aside to reveal hidden insects.  Pets never lose their “tossing tendencies”, and can create quite a mess at mealtime.

Social Needs: Blackbirds are territorial, and it's best to keep only a mating pair. Care must be taken when making the pair, as the birds may attack each other. Both parents will take care of the chicks, which should be removed after reaching one month of age to avoid aggression from the male.

Extra Information:
  • The adult male has glossy black plumage, blackish-brown legs, a yellow eye-ring and an orange-yellow bill. The bill darkens somewhat in winter. The adult female is sooty-brown with a dull yellowish-brownish bill, a brownish-white throat and some weak mottling on the breast.
  • The Common Blackbird is one of a number of species which has unihemispheric slow-wave sleep. One hemisphere of the brain is effectively asleep, while a low-voltage EEG, characteristic of wakefulness, is present in the other. The benefit of this is that the bird can rest in areas of high predation or during long migratory flights, but still retain a degree of alertness.
  • The Common Blackbird was seen as a sacred though destructive bird in Classical Greek folklore, and was said to die if it consumed pomegranate.

Exhibit Examples

Edited by zoocrazy, Nov 20 2013, 08:51 AM.
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