Foraging on the ground or in the trees, the mistle thrush feeds on a variety of invertebrates, seeds and fruits. Its invertebrate prey includes adult and larval beetles, butterflies and moths, crickets, grasshoppers, earwigs, bugs, spiders, millipedes, snails, slugs and earthworms. It also occasionally takes small vertebrates, including nestling birds (2). In addition, the mistle thrush eats a wide variety of plant food, including the fruits and seeds of dogwood, hawthorn, ivy, holly, juniper, apple, olive, bramble, elder, rowan, yew and mistletoe, as well as some grass shoots, moss and fungi (2). Fruits and seeds are particularly important food sources during the winter, when the mistle thrush may defend fruiting trees against other thrush species to ensure a long-term food supply (2).
The mistle thrush breeds from late March to July (2). The nest is a large cup of dry grass, roots, moss and plant stems, bound together with mud and lined with fine grasses, and typically placed in the fork of a tree (2) (5). The breeding pair is usually highly territorial, but the nesting territory is generally quite small and the adults forage over a much wider area.
This species lays three to five eggs, which are pale blue to bluish-green, with reddish-brown and purplish spots. The eggs hatch after around 12 to 15 days, and the young mistle thrushes fledge at 14 to 16 days old, although they remain dependent on the adults for a further 15 to 20 days. The breeding pair may raise a second brood in the same season, with the male often taking responsibility for the care of the young while the female lays the second clutch. The mistle thrush has lived to an impressive 21 years in the wild (2).