Turdus merula, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 295 (1766) ; Naumann, ii. p. 326, Taf. 71 ; Hewitson, i. p. 91, pl. xxv. figs. 1, 2 ; Newton, i. p. 280 ; Dresser, ii. p. 91, pl. 13 ; Seebohm, Cat. B. Br. Mus. v. p. 235 ; Saunders, p. 13 ; Lilford, iii. p. 92, pl. 46. Merula maxima, See¬bohm, tom. cit. p. 405 (1881).
Merle noir, French ; Merol-preto, Portug. ; Mirlo, Span. ; Merlo comune, Ital. ; Schwarz-Drossel, German ; Zwarte Lijster, Dutch : Sort-Drossel, Dan. ; Solsort, Norweg. ; Koltrast, Swed. ; Musto-rastas, Finn. ; Tscherny-Drozd, Russ.
Male ad. (England). Entire plumage glossy black ; bill orange ; legs and feet brown, the soles yellow; iris brown ; eyelids yellow. Culmen 1.05, wing 4.8, tail 4.4, tarsus 1.35 inch. The female has the upper parts dark olivaceous brown, the throat and sides of neck greyish white, spotted and streaked with dark brown ; upper breast reddish brown, mottled with dark brown ; rest of under parts greyish, the flanks washed with brown ; the bill brown. The young bird has the upper parts brown, streaked with fulvous, the lower back and rump washed with rufous, the underparts pale or orange rufous barred and spotted with brown.
Hab. Europe generally, mostly resident, of accidental occur¬rence as far north as Iceland and Jan Mayen Island ; the Azores, Canaries, and Madeira ; in Asia as far east as Persia, Afghanistan, Turkestan, and Kashmir ; North Africa.
Frequents woods, groves and gardens, and feeds on slugs, snails, worms, insects, berries, and fruit ; its flight except in the open is fitful and wavering, and when it flies off it utters a loud chuckling cry. Its song, which is clear, loud, and melodious, may be heard from the middle of February to the beginning of August, and occasionally even in winter, and at all hours of the day. It breeds almost throughout its range from late in March to June according to latitude, the nest, which is con-structed of twigs, rootlets, grass-bents, and leaves, well cemented together with mud, and lined with fine grass, is placed in a bush or tree, amongst ivy, on a wall, or even occasionally on the ground. The eggs 4 to 6 in number are usually greenish blue in ground colour, closely spotted with reddish brown, but are subject to considerable variety. Merida maxima Seebohm, is only a large form of the present species, and, it appears to me not even subspecifically separable.
20. Turdus merula