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Description of the American Robin

BREEDING MALE

General description: Plump thrush with an upright posture, gray upperparts, and brick-red underparts.  Length: 10"  Wing span: 17 in.

Male: Averages darker gray with blacker head and brighter underparts than female. Western bird are paler overall than eastern birds.

 

American Robin from the side.
Photograph © Alan Wilson

 

American Robin

Female

Paler overall than males. Western birds average paler than eastern birds.

Seasonal change in appearance

Not significant.

Juvenile

Pale brick-red breast heavily spotted with gray and black.

Juvenile American Robin
Photograph© Elaine Wilson

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Habitat

Open grassy areas with nearby trees or shrubs. Common in urban and suburban yards and parks, as well as on farms and in open woodlands. Often found near berry trees in winter.

Diet

Primarily earthworms, insects, and berries.

Behavior

Forages on the ground for earthworms and insects. Runs with frequent pauses to scan for prey. Also gathers in flocks near berry trees in winter.

Range

Very widespread; breeds from the treeline of Alaska and Canada south to Mexico, and from east to west coasts. Robins have a slightly increasing population trend.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the American Robin.

Wing Shape

The shape of a bird's wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species' identification.

- Male, Washington, May

- From below

 

- Female, Washington, Oct.

- From below

 

- Female, juvenile, Washington, May
- From below

Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History

Fun Facts

Robins actually use vision rather than hearing to locate earthworms, contrary to popular belief.

Vocalizations

Song a series of warbling, whistled phrases, as well as calls resembling short, sharp clucks.

Nesting

A deep cup of plant material or bits of trash in a foundation of mud, usually placed 5 to 25 feet above ground on a horizontal tree limb or natural or man-made ledge.

American Robin nest

 

baby robin

Number: Usually 4.

Color: Pale blue, “robin’s egg blue."

Incubation and fledging:
Young hatch at about 11 to 14 days and fledge at about 13 days, though receiving care for another 3 weeks.