Song Thrush race?

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

QDur­ing the past week I have been look­ing at, and tak­ing pic­tures of, what I call ‘Con­ti­nen­tal’ Song Thrushes, which I some­times see dur­ing the win­ter months. These birds are very much paler than our res­i­dent, buff-breasted ones, be­ing white, and I won­der if they are of the race philome­los. What do you think? David Richard­son, Whitby, North York­shire

AIn most of the UK, Song Thrushes are of the clarkei sub­species, also found in Ire­land, France, Bel­gium and the Nether­lands and even fur­ther east – on Skye and some of the Outer He­brides, the sub­species he­bri­den­sis is found. Else­where in Europe, the nom­i­nate race philome­los is found, and these birds gen­er­ally look much greyer above than our own. These look well within the range of clarkei birds to us – there’s not enough grey­ness, and the un­der­parts are buffy enough. Given your lo­ca­tion, though, it’s more than likely that you get Song Thrushes com­ing in from the con­ti­nent in win­ter (es­pe­cially this year, when they’ve had very cold weather). These could be of the same sub­species as our res­i­dents, but still look sub­tly dif­fer­ent, and we think that’s what’s go­ing on here.

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