Blackbird Turdus merula or subspecies?

Almost every day over the past few weeks I've heard and seen a blackbird in our garden with a song that has seemed out of the ordinary to me.  I've uploaded a short audio clip in the hope that the forum might be able to tell me whether this is is perfectly ordinary, common or garden T. merula or a subspecies - perhaps T. merula merula. I live on the east sussex coast.

  • Hi Taostream.
    I have plenty of Blackbirds singing on my patch and not heard any like that, If you hadn't said you had seen it singing I would have said the recording is at the wrong speed.
    This site has a lot of calls on it from different countries

    My Flickr photos

  • Hi Alan,
    Thanks for your reply. I can honestly and genuinely confirm that not just me but both my wife and son have seen and witnessed this blackbird singing with this same unusual song, often present and lasting in spells over several minutes. There is nothing remarkable that we can tell about the bird itself, looking every bit like an ordinary blackbird. The recording is at normal speed, and although I used "audacity" to take out some of the background carriageway vehicle noise, and wind (unfortunately ever present this March!) I don't hear any discernible difference between the recording and the character of the real-life song. Many thanks also for the link to the xeno database - maybe I can find something to match on there. I'm hoping we get some calmer weather and I can get close enough to take a video. "At least two subspecies, T. m. merula and T. m. nigropileus, will mimic other species of birds, cats, humans or alarms, but this is usually quiet and hard to detect." The second phrase on the recording definitely sounds to me like a man-made alarm. I just hope this bird sticks around for a while - long enough to get a better, longer recording and hopefully some video/photographs. Cheers!
  • I should certainly try and get a video if you can

    My Flickr photos

  • Just an update. 'Our' blackbird is still warbling away with the same riffs but I've not managed to bag a video of him yet. Partly, this is because, as Sod's law observes, he now appears to be hanging about in the neighbour's garden and a wild strip beyond our boundary rather than in our own! Neither of which offers an opportunity for a camera shot. Such is life...
    However, after having gone through the stereotypical calls of the subspecies of T. merula at and found no match, I'm persuaded that our male blackbird is none other than a common UK blackbird, T. merula having picked up on a couple of phrases from a season or two in close proximity to humans, or perhaps from another good mimicking bird - the Starling? Anyways, I shall keep trying to get a video of him to upload.