The Kennedy Wild Bird Food Guide to the Ring Ouzel

The ring ouzel is a beautiful bird of the thrush family that’s sadly in decline throughout the UK. In this guide, we take a look at all there is to know about the ring ouzel -including what it looks like, where in the UK you can spot one and what you should feed them. Take a look!

What does the ring ouzel look like?

Often thought to be a black and white blackbird, the ring ouzel is a close relative to the common blackbird, but has its own distinct features that allow us to easily tell them apart. The ring ouzel can be identified by its white breast band that looks like a collar (pictured below). They also have much paler wing panels than the blackbird and are slightly smaller and slimmer.

ring ouzel guide

Source: putneymark on Flickr.

The ring ouzel’s call

The call of the ring ouzel is a whistle similar to that of the blackbird. Have a listen to the clip below to see if you recognise it!

What does a ring ouzel eat?

The ring ouzel eats a varied diet consisting of berries, seeds, insects, and earthworms. They will pretty much take whatever food source is readily available. If you’re looking to attract this rare species into your garden, we recommend you try some of our much-loved suet products for birds that the ring ouzel and other garden birds (such as the blue tit and blackbird) will enjoy!

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Ring ouzel migration, nesting and habitat facts

The ring ouzel is known to nest amongst bushes and rocks, laying several eggs in a neat nest. Outside of breeding season, you might spot several ring ouzels in your garden if a regular food source is available.

Most ring ouzels in the UK are a migratory species, often flying to warmer climates of the Mediterranean during the UK’s colder months. Due to their migratory nature, you may be able to spot one all over the UK during the autumn months (when they’re beginning their migratory travels), however, they are only found in upland areas of the UK in the summer months.

Where to spot one in the UK

Unfortunately, this beautiful bird has been in decline over recent years, particularly in Ireland where they could soon become extinct. There are thought to be just 6,348 breeding pairs in the UK, giving the ring ouzel its Red List conservation status.

Despite this decline, you’ll spot a ring ouzel in highland areas of Scotland, northern England, Northern Ireland and parts of the South-West during the summer months. During their migratory passage, there’s a great chance of spotting the ring ouzel if you live on the East or South coast.

If you do spot a ring ouzel, whatever the month, don’t forget to log the sighting on our birdspotter map.

ring ouzel callSource: Andreas Trepte