Birds on Stamps

Turdus iliacus 

Turdus iliacus

In English en

The Redwing (Turdus iliacus) is our smallest species of the Turdus-family, together with the Song Thrush. It is probably our most widely distributed bird, nesting everywhere in Finland. Out of all the thrushes the Redwing is the most numerous, and ranks fourth overall for all the birds nesting in our country in terms of numbers. There are approximately 1.200.000 to 2.500.000 Redwing couples nesting in Finland today. Here, the bird is a summer visitor, arriving sometime between the middle of March and the middle of May, and leaving for winter during September, October and November. The migration is done in loose flocks during night.

By its appearance, the species resembles the Song Thrush, but can be distinguished due to its white eye- and moustache lines on its head, and by its sides, which are characteristically red. Their foraging behaviors are also the same, rummaging in the ground. However, despite of being a fairly timid species, the Redwing finds the courage to feed on open fields more often than the Song Thrush.

The Redwing is a typical inhabitant of coniferous forests and their bushy edges. In May, it builds its nest on the ground or at low height in small trees. The nest resembles a small-sized nest of the Fieldfare, though the Redwing’s nest is far better hidden from sight, even if the parents will reveal its presence with their aggressive behavior upon someone approaching the nest.

The female lays four to seven grayish-green eggs decorated with a reddish-brown web pattern. According to literature, both parents brood the eggs for about two weeks. They feed the hatchlings with very much the same foods as the Song Thrush - worms, snails and insects. The Redwing is considered to be a typical live-food eater among our thrushes of the Turdus-family, with berries and other vegetable food only playing a small role in its diet. The young birds leave the nest after two weeks, and quickly learn to fly. The Redwing couple may nest as often as three times during a nesting season.


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