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Blackbirds are considered the most well-known songbirds. However, if they start scolding, the melodious singing turns into a noise that is often unbearable.

In a nutshell

  • Blackbird song sounds melodious to humans
  • Peak singing times are at dawn and in the evening (March to mid-July)
  • The birds warn of enemies with tixes and cries


The blackbird, also known as the blackbird, is a species of bird in the thrush family. The body length of Turdus merula, the scientific name of the blackbird, is between 24 and 27 centimeters. The males have black feathers and a yellow beak. The female wears brown to gray plumage. The beak is light horn-colored.


vocalizations of blackbirds

When it comes to the vocalizations of blackbirds, a distinction is made between blackbird singing, clamoring and “tixing”:

  • blackbird singing
  • Belong to blackbird song
  • Territorial singing of the males
  • Autumn song of older males
  • courtship song
  • nest building song
  • brooding song
  • Youth singing of both sexes
  • calls of the females

district singing

The best-known voice in the bird concert is the loudly performed territorial song of the males. Although this is innate, the blackbird males adopt elements from the father, other males or birds, such as their titmouse sounds. In built-up areas, the sounds of civilisation, such as rescue vehicle sirens, are also included in the district song. The characteristic features of Reviergesang are:

  • individual stanzas with an average length of a good two seconds
  • in between breaks of an average of three seconds, in the evening a little longer
  • Duration: 20 to 30 minutes

The stanzas consist of the motif part and a chirping, noisy “appendage”, which can also be missing. The motif part is structured as follows:

  • Combination of two to five elements, rarely up to nine
  • Pauses between elements: 0.2 seconds (audible to the human ear)
  • Repertoire of up to 30 motifs
  • two to five favorite motifs
  • Individual blackbirds can be identified based on favorite motifs

Notice: The blackbird's territorial song is often compared to the sounds of a flute.

A special feature of Reviergesang is countersinging. Two neighboring males each respond to the verse of the other. The other's motives are taken up and "answer" in a comparable length and often with a similar stanza.

Occurrence of the district song

In Central Europe you can regularly hear the Reviergesang in the following months:

  • first appearance in spring
  • usually beginning in mid-March
  • Peak between May and June
  • End: mid-July

Notice: In settlement areas, the district song should also be heard in autumn and on mild winter days.

With regard to the time of day, blackbirds are among the early risers. Because the district singing begins before dawn. The second intensive singing phase is in the evening. Blackbirds are also said to sing at night in built-up areas.

Autumn song of older males

Autumn song of older males begins after the breeding season. It is similar to the district song, but is much quieter. In addition, the blackbird's beak is either completely closed or only slightly open.

courtship song

The courtship song of the male blackbird consists of:

  • two-part sounds in a random sequence
  • Motifs or parts of motifs in soft tones

Notice: During courtship singing, males ready to mate fly towards a female.

nest building song

While the female collects nesting material, the male sits by and watches, singing softly. If the female flies to the nest, he follows her. If there are any disturbances when approaching the nest, the male will stop singing. The female then avoids the nest and seeks cover.

brooding song

During breeding song, the male sits on an exposed singing station from which he can see the nest, just like during territorial singing. If there is a disturbance or danger, the male flies past the nest as a warning to the female.

youth singing

The juvenile song of blackbirds is innate to both males and females. It sets in from the 19th day. You can recognize the youth song, which is reminiscent of the autumn song, by the following external characteristics:

  • Throat, body and tail vibrate
  • slightly open or closed beak

calls of the females

Female blackbirds sing much less frequently than males. Their song is more subdued, but consists of stanzas like that of the blackbird males. The song of the female blackbird can be heard, for example, when approaching the nest. But it can also be stimulated by the singing of the male. Female blackbirds signal their willingness to mate by making very quiet, high-pitched sounds that are incoherent and sound compressed.

Tixen and clamors

While blackbird song sounds melodious to the human ear, tixing and clamoring are perceived as more of a nuisance. The typical feature of tixen is a series of fast, sharp sounds. The increase is the clamor. It occurs when the birds are particularly excited. They can "swear" at a volume of up to 56 decibels. However, what sounds like nagging to the human ear has important functions for blackbirds:

  • Driving out enemies or competitors
  • Warning call for magpies or cats

Notice: With the Tixen, conspecifics are also encouraged to participate in order to drive away the enemy together. Because clamoring blackbirds do not flee.

When the danger is over, the birds stop their warning calls. However, that can take quite a while. For example, if a cat is lying on the balcony in the sun, blackbirds tix and clamor until the cat disappears back into the apartment.

frequently asked Questions

Can the loud scolding of blackbirds harm humans?

The volume that can make people ill starts at 65 decibels when people are exposed to this noise for a long time. At 56 decibels when scolding, the blackbird is well below this volume level. However, constant nagging can be very tiring.

What can I do against the annoying scolding?

Since the nagging is meant to warn other members of the same species and drive away enemies, you can't do anything about it.

What does the phrase "hate blackbirds" mean?

By "hate" is meant the (collective) driving out of enemies.

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