Often believed to be the “first bird of spring,” the American robin is actually one of the most common and familiar backyard birds all year long. With distinct colors and interesting behavior, robins are one of the most beloved wild birds, and they are recognized as the state birds of Connecticut, Michigan and Wisconsin.
American Robin, Robin Red Breast
- Bill: Straight and long, yellow color
- Size: 10 inches long with 15-16-inch wingspan
- Colors: Gray, black, white, rusty red
- Markings: Genders are similar with gray or brown-gray back and a red or red-orange chest and abdomen. Head is dark gray on females and black on males, and the black eye is surrounded by a broken white eye ring. White throat has distinct black stripes. Lower abdomen and undertail coverts are white. Female birds have similar markings but are generally duller shades.
Insects, fruits, berries, worms
Habitat and Migration:
American robins are one of the most common backyard birds in North America and they can be found throughout the continental United States and central Mexico throughout the year in urban, suburban and forest habitats. Populations in southern Canada and the extreme southern United States migrate seasonally. American robins are frequently found in open areas, including gardens, yards and golf courses.
See Also: American Robin Range Map
The robin’s song is familiar to many birders with its high, varied pitch warble. A low “hip-hip-hip” call is also frequently used.
During the breeding season, American robins are largely solitary or may stay in pairs. During the winter, birds may congregate in large flocks.
Male robins are very territorial near their nests and feeding areas and will chase away other robins or even attack their own reflections in glass windows or chrome car bumpers. While feeding, robins run forward before pausing and turning their heads to look for worms and insects with their keen eyesight.
Pairs of robins will produce 2-3 broods of 3-8 pale blue eggs each during their annual breeding season. Multiple broods are more likely for southern populations where the climate is more favorable for a long reproductive season. The female parent does the majority of the incubation for 12-14 days, and she is also responsible for most of the feeding during the 14-16 days of the nestling stage before juvenile birds are ready to leave the nest.
Attracting American Robins:
American robins readily visit backyards, often foraging for worms and insects in the grass. Backyard birders can make their yards more attractive to robins by providing mealworms or fruit in platform or ground feeders, and robins are especially attracted to bird baths and dust bath areas.
Bird-friendly landscaping and fruit trees such as crabapples and cherries will also attract robins.
- Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius)
- Rufous-Backed Robin (Turdus rufopalliatus)
American Robin Photo © Dori