Robin, the common name of several songbirds of the thrush and flycatcher families. There are about 15 species of robins; they occur on all continents except Antarctica. The American and European robins are considered symbols of spring.
The American robin is found from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast, and from British Columbia south into Central America. It is 9 to 11 inches (23 to 28 cm) long. The male has a slate-gray or brownish-gray back and brick-red breast. The head is dark gray, and there are white streaks on the throat. The female resembles the male, but has a gray head and paler breast. Both sexes have yellow bills. Robins feed on fruit, insects, and worms.
The female robin makes a nest on a low tree limb or in a shrub. The cup-shaped nest is composed of mud and is lined with twigs and grass. The female lays three to five blue-green eggs that hatch in about two weeks.
The European robin is found in Europe, Central Asia, and northern Africa. It is six inches (15 cm) long, and is olive brown with an orange forehead, gray-blue breast, and white belly. The female lays five to seven white or bluish eggs with red speckles.The European robin has an orange face, gray-blue fringe, and white belly.
A robin’s song goes “Cheerily, cheer up, cheerily!” It is no wonder that robins have the most “cheerful” song of all!
Robins migrate south for the winter, as do bluebirds. Some robins travel over 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers). They use rivers, mountains, and coastlines to guide them along the way. In the spring, the robins return north to raise their young.
Robins are famous for their pale blue eggs. Robins’ eggs contain yellow yolks—as do the eggs of all birds. The yolk feeds the baby until the egg hatches. The chick uses a tool on the end of its beak, called an egg tooth, to break out of its shell. The egg tooth disappears soon after the chick has hatched.
Both parents share in feeding their baby robins. They give them earthworms, insects, and berries.
The American robin is Turdus migratorius; the European, Erithacus rubecula. Both belong to the thrush family, Turdidae. Other species belong to the Old World flycatcher family, Muscicapidae.