British Bird of the Month: Robin

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Member of Turdidae (Chats and Thrushes) family


Crowned National Bird in the 1960’s and a common favourite, the Robin is found throughout the UK in woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens.

Robins are instantly recognisable but juvenile Robins can be confusing as they lack the red breast and have brown upper parts and breast speckled with dark brown. The absence of a red breast helps stop generally aggressive adult Robins attacking them to defend territory

In the winter, our native birds are joined by migrants from continental Europe, mostly from Scandinavia and these have a duller red breast. These migrants are also generally less tame and more skulking, only British Robins are a tame garden bird.

Robins are territorial all year round; during the spring and summer this territoriality is for breeding, but at other times individual robins hold territories for feeding. Robins have been known to defend their territories to the death.

What They Eat & What You Can Offer Them

The Robin’s diet is principally insects and worms. The Robin will watch its prey from a perch before swooping in to collect the food. They will also often follow a gardener that is digging the soil over for any easy pickings. This type of behaviour is described as commensal feeding.

In the garden, the Robin has adapted its diet and is known to have a sweet tooth and often takes cake, especially fruit cake, coconut cake and uncooked pastry. At other times, sunflower hearts are eaten. Mealworms are a firm favourite, which they will often take from the hand.

Where They Live & How You Can Help Them

Their nest is made from grass, moss and dead leaves, lined with hair and wool, and usually in a hole in a tree stump, bank or wall, but more unusual locations such as kettles, cars, and coat pockets have been used. An open-fronted nest box will be readily occupied. The 3-9 eggs take about 13 days to incubate.

And Finally……..

Robins will sing all through the night and this often leads to them being incorrectly identified as a Nightingale. Also, Robins regularly appear in literature but in the poem ‘Who killed Cock Robin?’, although the Sparrow confessed, it was more than likely another Robin was guilty!

View our full range of Robin Food here 

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