robin facts

10 Robin Facts About The Singing Garden Visitors

Formerly belonging to the thrush family, robins occupy a distinct position, often seen in our gardens and heralding the arrival of spring. Let us uncover intriguing aspects of this common yet not fully understood bird by exploring this list of robin facts.

A robin typically has an orange breast, while the females lay blue eggs. Moreover, they display a duality in their behavior regarding reproduction. As we delve further into these robin facts, it becomes clear that these backyard visitors are far more complex than we thought. 

Do you want to know more about cute birds? Check out this post on adorable baby penguins!

10 Facts about Robins You Must Know

bird with orange breast
Photo by Jose Nelson Alcocer Amurrio on Unsplash

1. Robins are the first birds to lay eggs in spring.

Robins, particularly the American Robin, often herald the arrival of spring by laying eggs. These birds rise early during breeding and explore their surroundings for potential nesting spots. This behavior is not peculiar to a specific location or time of year; the increasing daylight hours stimulate reproductive hormones.

The robins' egg-laying routine aligns with the emergence of earthworms and insects from their winter hibernation. However, these popular birds may delay breeding in colder regions until warmer temperatures.

2. Robins are Britain's (unofficial) national birds.

small bird with orange chest
Photo by Jan Meeus on Unsplash

While American robins are familiar birds in the US, they can't match the popularity of the European robin across the pond. In 1960, the European robin won as Britain's favorite bird in a survey conducted by British Birds magazine. The bird's distinctive red breast and friendly personality endeared it to the British public. 

Even in 2015, the robin took first place in a new national bird poll conducted by urban birder David Lindo, with over 200,000 participants. 

Despite its continued popularity, the British government has not formally recognized the robin as a national bird.

3. Robins forage on the ground.

While foraging, robins engage in rhythmic running and pausing dance on open terrain, often observed on lawns and garden paths. This dance serves a purpose: robins hunt for invertebrates such as earthworms, insects, spiders, and snails.

Robins rely heavily on their keen vision to locate hidden prey beneath the soil. They can catch the slightest movements on the ground, hopping towards the target and quickly diving in to capture their meal. However, robins' varied diets are not limited to invertebrates.

When the ground freezes and food becomes scarce in winter, robins shift their diet to berries and fruits. They pick shrubs and trees or collect fallen ones from the ground. While looking for food, robins frequently visit urban parks and gardens.

Interestingly, robins can also follow larger mammals like deer or people, eating scattered insects and worms unearthed in the grass. Although this foraging technique exposes robins to potential threats from predators, it has proven to be a successful survival strategy.

4. Robins migrate in the winter.

robins on tree during winter
Photo by Hana Oliver on Unsplash

During winter, robins migrate to warmer regions in search for food. As insectivores, they feed on beetles, caterpillars, and grasshoppers, which become scarce in the winter. Therefore, they travel thousands of miles to find more abundant food sources.

They also exhibit remarkable adaptability by altering their route yearly based on new information. Additionally, robins can reach up to 30 miles per hour and cover approximately 200 miles daily. Then, they return in the early spring.

5. Robins sing at dawn.

Various songbirds participate in the morning concert; the robin often stars as the prominent performer due to its diverse collection of song phrases. However, this morning concert has a significant purpose in the life of these widespread songbirds.

Dawn sees predators begin their hunt, and robins use their loud songs to proclaim their presence and vigilance to potential intruders. This early bird warning system is especially crucial during the breeding season, and its dawn chorus deters competitors while securing their territory1.

6. Robins build nests near humans.

american robin on the ground
Photo by Jaime Dantas on Unsplash

Robins are everywhere in human communities because they can adapt to environments with a heavy concentration of humans. For example, they build their breeding grounds near human houses. 

Moreover, their cup-shaped nests are in various nooks and crannies humans often overlook. These sections may include the eaves of a house, on top of a porch light, in a garden shed, or a tree in our yards. Additionally, the materials used for construction include twigs, grass, moss, and even paper and feathers, held together by mud.

Inside the nest, the robin uses soft materials as a lining, creating a warm and comfortable environment for the eggs and fledglings. Usually, seeing these nests signals the arrival of spring.

7. Robin eggs are blue.

Our next robin fact below discusses how unique these birds' eggs are.

When female robins return from their winter habitats, they lay blue eggs in their nests. The blue color of these eggs is due to a pigment called biliverdin, a by-product of red blood cells woven into the eggshell, giving the eggs a range of blue hues.

A female robin lays 3 to 5 eggs during breeding, each turning blue. Some birdwatchers and scientists believe that the eggs' color disguises them from potential predators, blending with the sky when viewed from below. Others speculate that the blue hue may function as a billboard, advertising the health and fitness to potential partners of the mother robin2.

8. Robin chicks grow quickly.

Young robins begin their lives as tiny creatures, no larger than a thimble. Initially, they are brown with light specks. After their first molt, their distinguishable red feathers start to gro. They are ready to fly and leave the nest in just two weeks. 

The secret to their rapid development is a diet of protein-rich insects brought to them by the male and female robins, who tirelessly make hundreds of feeding trips daily. When the two weeks have passed, the chicks' feathers have fully developed, and their bodies have matured into adult robins. 

9. Robins are aggressively territorial.

robin with worms
Photo by Daniel Roberts on Unsplash

While robins are sweet songbirds, they become fierce predators during breeding. Despite their small size, they defend their territory from intruders.

Male robins are territorial, defending a space spanning several acres using a combination of vocal warnings and physical displays to establish boundaries. For example, they puff up their feathers and spread their tail feathers to appear more intimidating.

Additionally, physical confrontations are common; robins can deliver impactful blows. Maintaining control of their territory is the key to their survival and reproductive success.

10. Robin populations are stable.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified this bird species as 'Least Concern' due to its adaptability and resilience. They live in North America, Europe, and Asia.

These birds are not only charming animals, but they are also incredibly resilient. However, their stability is merely temporary. The threats posed by habitat loss and climate change necessitate a vigilant approach.

Share these robin facts online with a picture you took every time this bird visits your garden.

Related: To further explore the animal kingdom, check out some of the other animals that start with R.

Pin Me:
Pin Image Portrait 10 Robin Facts About The Singing Garden Visitors
1

Staicer, C. A., Spector, D. A., & Horn, A. G. (2020). 24. The Dawn Chorus and Other Diel Patterns in Acoustic Signaling. In Cornell University Press eBooks (pp. 426–453).

2

English, P. A., & Montgomerie, R. (2010). Robin’s egg blue: does egg color influence male parental care? Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 65(5), 1029–1036.

Mike is a degree-qualified researcher and writer passionate about increasing global awareness about climate change and encouraging people to act collectively in resolving these issues.

Fact Checked By:
Chinny Verana, BSc.

Photo by Dan Senior on Unsplash
Sign Up for Updates
SIGN UP
TRVST
ABOUT
 · 
THE TEAM
 · 
CONTACT
 · 
PRIVACY
 · 
COOKIES
 · 
T&Cs
Copyright © 2023 TRVST LTD. All Rights Reserved
US Flag
100 North Point Center E, Ste 125 #A262, Alpharetta, GA 30022, USA.
UK Flag
7 Bell Yard, London, WC2A 2JR, United Kingdom.
chevron-upchevron-down