A noisy, gregarious bird seen all year round throughout the UK. Most abundant in southern England, less often seen in upland, moorland areas. Although still the UK’s most common garden bird, their decline in numbers gives them a red list status – that of highest conservation priority with urgent action needed.
Adult: Glossy black upperparts, with brown margins to the wings and feathers. The head, back and underparts are also glossy black in summer, turning white and heavily speckled come winter.
Juvenile: A grey-brown and buff body, a pale chin patch and black legs and bill distinguish the juveniles from the adult birds.
Bill: Yellow, short and thin.
Legs: Red, medium length.
Habitat: Gardens, marshes, moors, sea cliffs, estuaries, woodlands and hedges.
Behaviour: Flits, perches openly, walks, takes off/lands from vegetation and ground.
Flight: Strong, direct and powerful glide.
Voice: Variety of wheezing calls and mimicry.
Nest: Holes in trees, cliffs or buildings and nest boxes. Untidy.
Eggs: 5–7. Pale blue.
Incubation period: 12–15 days.
Fledgeling: 20–22 days.
Broods: 1–2. April–May.
Food: Insects, fruit, seeds, nuts and suet.
UK breeding pairs: 1.2 million.
Suet Fat Balls, Suet Blocks.