THRUSH, Turdus or Merula, a genus of birds of the family rnerulidce or turdides, having a bill of moderate size, straight, the upper mandible convex, its point com pressed, notched, and slightly curved downward, the gape furnished with a few hairs; the nostrils near the base of the bill, oval, partly closed by a naked membrane; the first feather of the wing very short, the third and fourth longest; the tarsus longer than the middle toe, the outer toe connected with the middle toe at the base. The species are numerous and widely distributed, some of them inhabiting temperate and even cold countries, and some found only in tropical regions. Some of them are birds of passage, as the fieldfare and redwing. Some are gregarious, particularly in winter, as the species just named; others live solitary or in pairs. The common British species are the black bird (q.v.), fieldfare (q.v.), redwing (q.v.), ring ousel (q.v.), song thrush, and missel fbrush.—The SONG Tuntsu, or THROSTLE (T. musics or IL musica), the mavis of the Scotch, is smaller than the blackbird, its whole length being not quite nine inches. Its plumage is brown, of various finely-mingled shades; the throat, sides of the neck, breast, and flanks yellowish, spotted with dark brown; the belly nearly white, with a few spots of darkbrown; a dark brown streak, with a lighter brown streak over it, passing from the bill to the eye. It is found in all parts of Europe, but deserts some of the northern parts in winter, being thus partially a bird of passage. It remains all the year in Britain. It feeds on insects, worms, slugs, snails, berries, and seeds. It often makes its nest in the center of a thick bush or shrub, and sometimes in an open shed. The eggs are usu ally four or five in number. The male takes part in the work of incubation, and is very attentive in feeding his mate while so occupied. The throstle is well known as one of
the sweetest songsters of the groves. In captivity, it has been taught simple airs.—The MISSEL THRUSH (T. viscivorus orL. riscivora) is about 11 in. in entire length, and is the largest and strongest European species of the genus. The plumage is very similar to that of the song thrush. The tail is slightly forked, which is not the case in that species. The spots on the belly are more numerous and black. The song is loud and clear, but not equal to that of the song thrush or of the blackbird. The bird delights in pouring forth its song from the very top of a tall tree. It also very often sings before or during wind and rain, whence it has received the name of stormcock. Its nest is gener ally fixed in the fork of a tree. It is found in almost all parts of Britain where there are woods. Its range extends through great part of Asia; it is found in India.—The Woon THRUSH (T. mustelinus or a mustelina) is abundant in North America in summer, as far n. as Hudson's Bay, reiiriug to tropical and subtropical regions in winter. It is rather smaller than the song thrush and very similar to it. It is of a very shy and re tiring disposition. It has a clear but very simple song, which is to be heard in the depths of the forest, far from the haunts of men. Several other species are found in North America. India has some. A common West India species (T. or M. leucogenys) is familiarly known by the name of hopping Dick, and is a general favorite from its bold lively manners, and its sweet song. All the species are in esteem for the table, and the song thrush is much sought for this use in Italy in the season of ripe grapes, when it be comes very fat. Gardeners in Britain well know how troublesome thrushes are where numerous, from their avidity for cherries and small fruit.