A mobbing call given to owls, kestrel, magpie, carrion crow (and ornithologists checking nests!) which may be followed by attacks. The blackbird is exposed, agitated, flicks tail and wings - which are kept dangling -, from an obvious post (top shot and above) facing the potential predator, very nervous sounding and calling repeatedly and monotonously for a long time. It indicates a moderately aggressive tendency with a low escape tendency, although somewhat inhibited from attacking. Mobbing might be a way of cultural transmission of enemy recognition. Inexperience birds exposed to conspecifics mobbing a predator will join in the mobbing and mob the predator themselves in the future.
Alarm call before roosting or 'chinking'
Territory holding males give a persistent 'chink-chink' calls in the evening, possibly to deter other Blackbirds from roosting in its territory. Other territory holders might join in 'chinking'. This is interesting as it is very similar if not identical to the mobbing call. Is this a dishonest signal 'don't roost here, there are predators around'? or it is an assertion of territorial ownership with a general meaning 'move on'?
The bird sits tense, still, with feathers flat on the body and head. In response to crow and sparrowhawk, whether they are flying or just nearby. Slow, well spaced and high-pitched with open beak (above). Many other birds have a similar thin, high pitched alarm call for threats from aerial predators since the features of this sound makes the calling bird harder to locate, therefore the bird calling does not endangering itself. It has also been called 'hawk alarm', but it is also uttered in response to crows flying overhead or when the nest is threatened. Nestlings react to this call by becoming quiet and still. In experiments using magpie dummies, the parents uttered this call when the dummy was 6-7 m from the nest, while they used the mobbing call when the dummy was very close to the nest. Interestingly, there appear to be differences between urban and rural blackbirds use of this call, as D.W. Snow reported that woodland birds use this call also to humans (the one in the photo above is a woodland bird, so maybe was reacting to our presence), and then it indicates that the nest is very close.
A loud, sudden and accelerating outburst, ending on a noisy scream, with the bird flying away. Alarm call when the bird is suddenly startled, also during fights. May starts when the bird is perched but finished in flight. If this call has the same effect on a predator as if an observer disturbs a blackbird at close quarters - it has made me jump more than once - it might give the calling bird a few moments advantage to flee from danger.
Also called 'trill' call. A flight or fight intention call. Perched and in flight. It can serve as an appeasement call by a subordinate bird indicating its intention to flee.
Also known as 'pok' or 'pook' call, sounds like a soft bark, to me more like 'wow'. Usually from a tree, still or in flight. It is an alarm call to indicate the presence of ground predators, which in gardens usually means the presence of a cat, or a human approaching young or the nest. Fledglings respond to this call immediately by keeping silent and still and looking around, and especially below them. D.W. Snow used a playback of this call to a few day old nestlings reared by him and they acted in the same way.
Low pitched, uttered with the beak closed. Anxiety call, mild alarm. Sometimes on its own, sometimes accelerating to the full-swing alarm call in flight. Flicks tail, horizontal body. To people, dogs, cats, etc. Females use it when disturbed while looking for nest site or nest building. Also used when the bird is foraging in an unfamiliar situation where the bird feels insecure.
Chook, chook, chink, chink, chink
A variant in which the chook combines with chinking as the bird becomes more aggressive or excited.
Snow, D. W. (1988). A study of blackbirds. British Museum, Natural History.
Kryštofková, M., Haas, M., & Exnerová, A. (2011). Nest defense in blackbirds Turdus merula: effect of predator distance and parental sex. Acta Ornithologica, 46(1), 55-63.