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10 Types of Robin: Species, Facts and Photos

Exploring the various types of robins across numerous taxonomic groups can provide crucial insights into bird biodiversity. This article looks at multiple avians, each sporting similarities with the European robin regarding coloration and other physical aspects. Read on to learn more.

Robin Classification

Types of Birds from varying groups often share the name robin. This stems from resemblances to the European robin, particularly in coloration and other physical traits. 

In the following sections, we'll explore all the birds that carry the robin name. According to the World Bird List, there are 104 bird species named robin1. The avians in this list came from the families Muscicapidae, Turdidae, and Petroicidae, all under the order Passeriformes or the perching birds.

Related Read: Robin Facts.

10 Types of Robin Species

1. European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

 European Robin
Photo by Phil Mitchell on Pexels.

The European Robin, or robin redbreast, is a small bird with reddish-orange breasts and faces and contrasting grey-brown plumage on its upper parts.

They cover Europe, western Asia, and parts of North Africa. They partially migrate from northern Europe. The robin sings a warbling melody, particularly prominent in well-lit urban areas at night.

Moreover, these birds feed on insects, spiders, worms, seeds, and fruits. However, it faces habitat loss due to urbanization and deforestation.

2. Japanese Robin (Larvivora akahige)

Japanese Robin
Photo by Alnus on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).

The Japanese Robin lives in the forests of Japan, not to be confused with the Pekin Robin, also called the Japanese (hill) Robin. Males have dark blue-black feathers on top and vibrant orange-red underneath. 

Despite their small size, they can survive and thrive in different environments throughout the year. They are widespread across Japan, living in deciduous and mixed forests. They also migrate to warmer climates or lower altitudes during winter.

Moreover, they are adept hunters and often search for insects, spiders, or worms to eat. Their high-pitched notes echo through the forest at dawn and dusk.

3. Rufous-tailed Robin (Larvivora sibilans)

Rufous-tailed Robin
Photo by Zeynel Cebeci on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Rufous-tailed Robin is a small songbird belonging to the Muscicapidae family. It commonly lives in the forests of Russia, Japan, and China. 

The bird's distinguishing feature is its reddish-brown tail, contrasting its olive-brown back and wings. Moreover, the Rufous-tailed Robin measures only 14-16 cm long and feeds on insects, other small creatures, and berries and fruits. 

During winter, it migrates to Southeast Asia and lives in the dense undergrowth of woodlands or near streams. This elusive bird loves dense foliage, making it hard to find, but its melodious song can echo through the forest.

4. Black Scrub Robin (Cercotrichas podobe)

Black Scrub Robin
Photo by jujurenoult on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Black Scrub Robin lives in the savannahs of many Middle Eastern countries. This bird measures only 15-17 cm long and weighs around 20-30 grams. 

It also has brownish-grey feathers with a lighter belly and white stripes above its eyes. Both male and female birds appear similar, but their behaviors during mating season show subtle differences. 

The Black Scrub Robin feeds mainly on insects, spiders, and other tiny invertebrates. It weaves a mix of grass, leaves, and twigs into its nests, usually in the safety of shrubs or low-lying trees. 

Moreover, the bird is fiercely territorial; it fans out its tail feathers during territorial disputes or mating rituals. Unfortunately, many birds face habitat loss due to farming expansion and urbanization.

5. Indian Robin (Copsychus fulicatus)

Indian Robin
Photo by Karan Togattiwar on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Indian Robin lives in the Indian Subcontinent. Males have a black glossy coat with white shoulder patches, while the females have a grey-brown appearance. 

Moreover, male Indian Robins perform a wing-shivering ritual to display dominance and attract potential mates. Females prefer to nest in cavities. During their nesting period, between April and July, they share parenting duties and lay 2-4 pale blue or green eggs with reddish-brown spots. 

They are also common in urban and rural areas, where they sing melodious songs.

6. Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis)

oriental Magpie-Robin
Photo by Shreyas Chavan on Pexels.

The Oriental Magpie-Robin measures around 19 cm long; the male is black and white, while the female is grey-brown. Their melodic songs have made them popular in singing competitions across Bengal. Moreover, they cover a wide range, from the Indian Subcontinent to the Philippines and Indonesia. 

They can adapt to different environments, such as urban gardens and dense forests, living up to 2000 meters above the ground.

The Oriental Magpie-Robin can feed on insects, earthworms, berries, and small reptiles such as geckos. They are territorial birds, especially the males, who can be aggressive when protecting their space.

7. American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

American Robin
Photo by Kristof vt on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).

The American Robin is a migratory bird belonging to the thrush family. It lives in gardens, parks, and forests across North and Central America. Moreover, it is also the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin. 

They feature subtle gray-brown bodies, warm tones, dark heads, and orange-red breasts, also known as New World thrushes. One can also see a white patch on their lower belly and under the tail while they fly. Male American Robins have darker heads than females; juveniles also have a unique appearance.

American Robins are hardworking birds often seen running and abruptly stopping on the ground for worms, their primary food source. Their keen sense of hearing can detect the slightest movement beneath the ground. They can use trees, artificial structures, or spots near human dwellings when choosing nesting sites. 

These famous types of robins consume beetles, grubs, caterpillars, fruits, and berries. Moreover, they sing a cheerful song at the beginning and end of each day, a distinctive warble.

8. Norfolk Robin (Petroica multicolor)

Norfolk Robin
Photo by Paul Gear on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).

The Norfolk Robin inhabits Australia's eucalyptus forests, woodlands, and shrublands. Although it is not a true robin, it belongs to the Petroicidae family, which includes 49 unique Australasian robin species. 

The males are brightly colored, with a vibrant red or orange chest, while the females have more muted hues. Moreover, they frequently hunt insects and spiders using a 'perch and pounce' approach.

The Norfolk Robin does not undertake seasonal migration but moves around its existing range based on food availability. You can often spot them in urban parks and gardens. They also sing a melodious song, which echoes during dawn and dusk. 

9. South Island Robin (Petroica australis)

South Island Robin
Photo by Kimberley Collins on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The South Island Robin, also known as Toutouwai, is a small bird with a dark grey or black coat, white underparts, and a white spot above its bill. This sedentary bird stays close to its home territory throughout its life. 

The bird forages using a 'foot-trembling' technique, shaking its feet on the forest floor to disturb hidden food. Its diet consists of invertebrates, small fruits, and seeds. 

During the breeding season, males become fierce protectors of their territories. The New Zealand Robin exhibits rare monogamous behavior for birds. Partners maintain a strong bond and share the responsibility of raising their young. The bird builds cup-like nests in the trees, masterpieces of avian architecture.

10. Flame Robin (Petroica phoenicea)

Flame Robin
Photo by Dominic Sherony on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Flame Robin is native to southeastern Australia, including Tasmania. Bird watchers enjoy observing them due to their vibrant plumage. The males have a fiery red chest and throat, while females and juveniles have a more muted palette. 

Their diet consists primarily of insects, and their hunting strategy involves perching and scanning their surroundings for any signs of movement. 

Moreover, their sweet, melodic songs often resound at dawn and dusk. However, habitat loss and fragmentation threaten their survival.

1

Gill F, D Donsker & P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v13.1).

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:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

Photo by Simon on Unsplash.
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