Blue Rock-thrush/Monticola solitarius

Blue Rock-thrush/Monticola solitarius - Photographer: Нончо Илиев
Blue Rock-thrush/Monticola solitarius - Photographer: Чавдар Гечев
Blue Rock-thrush/Monticola solitarius - Photographer: Борис Белчев
Blue Rock-thrush/Monticola solitarius - Photographer: Емил Енчев

L 21-23 cm. Breeds in rocky, precipitous habitats on coasts, in mountain ravines and on mountainsides with boulders and rock outcrops, locally also in stone quarries, on ruins, churches and even inhabited buildings in flat terrain; thus, unlike Rock Thrush, also inhabits lower levels. Mainly resident. Wary, often takes cover. Food insects, plant matter, small lizards. Nests in cavity or recess in cliff or wall.
IDENTIFICATION: Large and slim with long bill. (Against the light and at distance beware similarly long-billed Mistle Thrush, which also breeds in the S European mountains!) a dull blue-grey with dark wings (1st-winter even duller blue and vermiculated dark, primary coverts tipped pale). female dark brown, vermiculated below, with dark brown tail.
VOICE: Call a disyllabic squeaky pipe, ‘üh-vih’; also a deep clicking ‘chook’. Song varies somewhat, often like Rock Thrush’s (genuine confusion risk!), is loud but not that soft, has clear and rolling or tremulous tone (rsound), strongly melancholy ring, often shuttling back and forth.

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