Fieldfares poop on their enemies

The Fieldfare bird has a defence system using its faeces – its excrement, its poop – which can be fatal to its enemies and predators.

The Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) is a small bird in the Turdidae family of thrushes. It is related to the Song Thrush and the Mistle Thrush. It is native to countries in northern Europe and Asia.

It lives in small colonies. The female makes a cup-shaped nest, in a tree, bush, or among rocks, where she lays 5-6 eggs and sits on them until they hatch after 13-14 days.

To guard the nest and to protect itself from predators, such as a Raven, the colony of Fieldfares uses a flying faecal defence system by pooping on its enemies. 


David Attenborough, the British natural historian, in the BBC Earth program in 2007 showed a predatory Raven attacking a Fieldfare nest. When the colony of Fieldfares sees a Raven, several birds sound an alarm to warn them to begin the defence to stop the Raven from attacking. 

The Fieldfare chase away the Raven, and as they fly, they force the Raven to the ground, and then they drop their faeces – their poop – onto the Raven. 

If the Raven gets lots of poop onto its wings, it cannot fly. Sometimes, this will cause the Raven, or other predatory bird, to die – mainly because the Raven is exposed to its predators. 


Location of photographs: Tbilisi, Georgia

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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