The Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) in a production forestry context: A territory mapping study


  • Asko Lõhmus University of Tartu


breeding density, drained bog, forest management, Pinus sylvestris, landscape


In Northern Europe, the Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) is a relatively poorly studied species inhabiting forested landscapes where it has historically experienced population declines. Those declines have been attributed to the spread of intensive forest management; yet, the populations have stabilized or increased in recent decades. To distinguish the main forestry impacts on its breeding numbers and distribution, a multiple-visit territory-mapping study was carried out over 15 km2 of production forest landscape in Estonia. At the landscape scale, the breeding distribution was concentrated to conifer forests on bog peat where the densities were five times higher than in other conifer forests and (at least) ten times higher than in non-conifer forests. This reveals a broad distribution pattern where high-density (core) habitats only host a small fraction of the total population; their relative contribution to the recruitment remains unknown. At the breeding territory scale (within 150 m from a nest), Mistle Thrushes avoided recent clear-cuts and preferred larger areas of old stands more than expected from the distribution of suitable stands for nesting. This indicated that, in a short term, clear-cutting reduces nesting habitats of this species disproportionately more than expected from the cut area alone; this is in accordance with the documented 20th century declines of the species in Fennoscandia. The relationship with forestry drainage is more complicated, however, due to delayed effects and covariation with the main breeding habitat. The basic ecology of the species in conifer forest-wetland landscapes, which are subjected to management pressures, warrants future studies and might provide general insights into the dynamics and functioning of these ecosystems.

Research articles


2023-02-20 — Updated on 2023-03-31


How to Cite

Lõhmus, A. (2023). The Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) in a production forestry context: A territory mapping study. Ornis Fennica, 100(1), 51–60. (Original work published February 20, 2023)