Turdidae - Chats
The thrushes are a large (over 300 species) and diverse family of birds, which can be split into two broad groups, the larger true thrushes and the smaller chats and wheatears. The chats and wheatears are small ground-dwelling birds that forage for small insects; beyond this, they are more diverse in body form and habits than the thrushes. Some, such as the Robin are extremely tame and confiding, others are much shyer; many, such as the Wheatear are birds of open country, while the Nightingale is very much a bird of dense cover.
As with the thrushes, most species are monogamous, and the species which live in open country will often sit high on vantage point waiting to mob any who come near the nest. Most species do not have a well-developed song, but the Nightingale ranks amongst the sweetest of songsters (though the Blackbird must be another contender for the title).
The Robin is one of the most familiar of garden birds, though interestingly its continental cousins are much shyer, preferring to skulk in undergrowth. The migratory Wheatear is a common bird of open grassland, particularly in upland areas - its arrival back in late March is a sure sign spring is on the way. Birds such as the gem-like Red-flanked Bluetail are extremely occasional visitors from the far east - steeped in mystique, they represent a red-letter day for anyone finding them.
Regularly Occurring Species
Siberian Blue Robin
Widening BTO's appeal
Andy Clements, BTO's Chief Executive, looks at how BTO can engage new audiences.
Scottish Birdwatchers' Conference
Every year the Scottish Ornithologist's Club arrange a one-day Scottish Birdwatchers’ Conference, organised by a local branch of the SOC, in conjunction with BTO Scotland.