Robin

Erithacus rubecula

14cm

Appearance

Has a distinctive orangish-red face, throat and breast. The back is brownish, there is a clear distinction between the red throat and white belly, and the tail feathers are white underneath. The bill is narrow and small, and the legs are black and relatively long. Juvenile birds are brown above with pale spots, the underparts are light-buffish and have darker spots. Note the lack of red markings.

Habitat

Prefers woods and areas with dense, low vegetation. May be found in hedges, parks, gardens, and occasionally in more expansive countryside.

Character

Springs across the ground and occasionally allows its wings to droop. Robins of the region can be quite tame, particularly in garden settings. Is territorial throughout the year. Male uses his red breast in courtship to get attention from females and to outdo potential male competition.

Food

Diet includes spiders, beetles, flies, worms, the berries from elder, bramble and rowan, seeds and grain.

Breeding

Females lay 4 or 5 eggs at the start of April, and she incubates them for about 15 days. Both adults feed the hatchlings unless the female begins another brood; in this case the male cares for the young. Young fledge at about 13 days old and gain independence 16-24 days later. There are often two broods, and occasionally three.

Population

Most Robins of the region do not travel far. Other populations of the world may be migratory, and the region may receive some winter visitors, particularly in the east. Approximately 6.7 million pairs are in the UK and more than 1 million in Ireland.

Observation Tips

Robins of the region are particularly confiding when compared to other populations. They're a common sight in gardens where they search for human scraps and unearthed insects. Robins are less common in Scotland, and finding them in the northern parts of the country may prove very difficult.

Voice

Has a short, piercing 'tic' call when disturbed, and also a shrill 'tsweee'. Has a mournful song year-round, though it is most vocal during the spring; the song becomes more cheerful after Christmas.
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