The European Robin, often referred to as the robin or robin redbreast in Great Britain and Ireland, is a small bird from the chat subfamily within the Old World flycatcher family, known for its insectivorous habits.
Appearance and Behavior
Both male and female European Robins display a striking orange breast and face, bordered with grey, alongside brown upper parts and a pale belly.
The juvenile robins stand out with their bold, pale buffy spots on their backs and breasts.
These robins are versatile in their habitat choice, thriving in forests, gardens, farmland hedges, and heathlands, often seen energetically hopping on the ground, pausing to survey their surroundings, and frequently flicking their wings and cocking their tails.
The term ‘robin’ is also used for birds in other families that share the red or orange breast feature, such as the American Robin (a thrush) and the Australasian robins from the family Petroicidae.
- – Scientific Name: Erithacus rubecula
- – Average Lifespan: 13 months
- – Size: Approximately 4.72-5.51 inches
- – Weight: Between 0.56-0.78 ounces
- – Wingspan: Around 8–8.5 inches
Habitat and Distribution
The European Robin is found across Eurasia, extending to Western Siberia, south to Algeria, and even on Atlantic islands like the Azores and Madeira.
Their presence is also noted in Iran and the Caucasus range. Irish and British robins usually stay put, but a few, typically females, migrate to southern Europe in winter.
Scandinavian and Russian robins often migrate to Britain and western Europe to avoid severe winters.
Interestingly, while continental European robins migrating in winter prefer spruce woods in northern Europe, those in Great Britain are more common in parks and gardens.
European Robins are not particular about their nesting sites; they will nest in any sheltered spot, from crevices and banks to unusual places like machinery, barbecues, bicycle handlebars, and even upturned brooms.
They are also known to utilize man-made nest boxes, especially those with open fronts.
Their breeding season starts in March in Britain and Ireland, producing two or three clutches of five or six eggs each.
The eggs are typically cream, buff, or white, speckled or blotched with reddish-brown, often more intensely at the larger end.