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Interesting Facts About Robins

The robin is one of Britain’s best loved birds. These chirpy little visitors to our gardens are always a welcome sight but it is easy to take them for granted. Here are some facts about robins which might help to understand your feathered friends a little better.

  • Juvenile robins don’t have a red breast. The distinctive red feathers don’t appear until after the first moult.
  • British robins tend to stay living close to where they were hatched but Scandinavian robins migrate to the Mediterranean for the winter. It sounds like they have the right idea!
  • Towards the end of the Victorian era, robin skins unfortunately became rather popular as decorative features of ladies’ hats! How awful!
  • Until early in the last century, the robin was generally known as the redbreast.
  • The robin is a member of the thrush family and so is also a relative of the blackbird and the nightingale.
  • Both male and female robins are territorial and hold their territories during the winter rather than just when breeding. Both sexes of bird sing the same winter song.
  • The robin is Britain’s national bird and was declared as such 15 December 1960.
  • British postmen gained the nickname robin or redbreast because of their red coats.
  • Robins don’t tend to live very long. The oldest bird recorded only made it to its eighth birthday.
  • The recovery of ringed birds has indicated that the most common cause of premature death in robins is being killed by a cat. Oh dear!
  • Robins often sing at night which is why they can be mistaken for nightingales.
  • Pairs of robins will try to raise three broods each year and some manage as many as five. They are busy little birds!
  • There are other species of bird around the world which are referred to as robins but none of these are related to the British robin.
  • Robins are present throughout the whole of the UK, including the majority of our offshore islands.
  • Every robin boasts a unique breast pattern and so it is possible to recognise individuals if you are interested in learning if the same birds are visiting your garden and feeders. However, it is very difficult to tell one bird from another so good luck!
  • Robins are omnivorous birds meaning that they will eat seeds, fruit and insects.
  • Attempts to introduce robins to America, Australia and New Zealand have all failed.
  • Robins are so territorial that they will defend their patch from other robins to the death.
  • British robins will not use our typical nesting boxes with round entrance holes. But they will nest in boxes with open fronts. If you wish to attract robins to your garden, you will need this type of bird house.
  • A robin’s favourite food is mealworms.
  • Whilst continental robins are shy and unapproachable, British robins are notable for their tameness.


Have you seen robins in your garden lately and have you been able to recognise individual birds by their breast markings?


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