European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

European Robin

The European Robin
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Erithacus
Species: E. rubecula
Binomial name
Erithacus rubecula
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family, but is now considered to be an Old World flycatcher, Muscicapidae. European Robins and similar small European species are often called chats.

It is a common 12.5-14 cm long European songbird, known for its pugnacious behaviour despite its diminutive size.

Robins have a fluting, warbling song in the breeding season. Robins often sing into the evening, and sometimes into the night, leading some to confuse them with the Nightingale. Both males and females sing during the winter, when they hold separate territories, the song then sounding more plaintive than the summer version. The female Robins move a short distance from the summer nesting teritory to a nearby territory that is more suitable for winter feeding. Male Robins keep the same territory throughout the year.

Robins build a neat cup nest in crevices, holes or articial sites such as discarded kettles. When juvenile birds fly from the nests thay are all brown in colour and do not have a red breast. After 2 to 3 months out of the nest, the juvenile birds grow some reddish feathers under their chins and over a further 2 to 3 months this patch gradually extends to complete the adult appearance (approx times only).

The Robin is well-known to British and Irish gardeners: it is relatively unafraid of humans and likes to come close when anyone is digging the soil, in order to look out for earthworms and other food freshly turned up; when the gardener stops for a break the robin will often use the handle of the spade as a lookout point. Robins in continental Europe are more wary. Robins also approach large wild animals, such as wild boar, and other animals which disturb the ground for any food that might be brought to the surface.

British Robins are largely resident but a small minority, usually female, migrate to southern Europe during winter and a few of these migrate as far as Spain.

Scandinavian and Russian Robins migrate to Britain and western Europe to escape the harsher winters. These migrants can be recognised by the greyer tone to their upperparts and more orange breast.

The "Robin Redbreast" has much folklore surrounding it (especially various explanations as to how it acquired its blood-red front) and has become strongly associated with Christmas, taking a starring role on many a Christmas card. The robin has also appeared on many Christmas postage stamps

The European Robin

Other Robins

The larger American Robin, Turdus migratorius, is named for its similarity to the European Robin, not because they are closely related. The similarity lies largely in the orange chest patch in both species, which has led to the common nickname "robin redbreast". This American species was incorrectly shown "feathering its nest" in London in the film Mary Poppins.

In the USA, the Northern Cardinal, often appears on Christmas cards and decorations like the European Robin does in Europe.

The Australian "robin redbreast", more correctly the Scarlet Robin, is more closely related to the crows and jays than it is to the European Robin.


List of Cyprus birds

Cyprus, Nature

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