St Nicks

Centre for nature and green living

December 2013: Spotlight on… Robin



Singing Robin at St Nicks

Singing Robin at St Nicks









(European) Robin
Erithacus rubecula

Perhaps the UK’s favourite bird, the Robin is familiar to most people, with its reddish throat and breast, and confiding manner. Its song is perhaps less familiar than its appearance. You can hear the song by clicking here. It might sound a very sweet song, but it’s actually quite an agressive one, warning other Robins off its territory!

It was formerly included in the Thrush family of birds but now Robins are classified as “Chats”, along with Nightingales, Wheatears and Redstarts.

The Robin is one the few British birds which holds territories throughout the year. In summer, a territory is defended by a mating pair, whilst in winter, each bird holds its own feeding territory – which is smaller than the breeding territory. So Robin song can be heard in almost every month of the year.. and they often sing later in the day than many other birds, sometimes when it’s almost dark! They feed on insects, snails and worms, which is why they love to follow gardeners round when they are turning over the soil!

Juvenile Robin

Juvenile Robin

St Nicks provides an excellent habitat for Robins, and at least six pairs breed in the reserve. During the breeding season, the juvenile birds puzzle many people, since they completely lack the red markings of the adult. But they generally have the same shape as adults, and the same upright stance.

There are over 5 million pairs of Robins in Britain, and their numbers, particularly North of the Severn and Thames, have increased in recent years. We will continue to monitor the Robin population at St Nicks.

North Yorkshire: Resident breeder
St Nicks: Resident breeder.

Finally, thanks to Peter Roman for this lovely drawing of a Robin:

Robin - by Peter Roman

Robin – by Peter Roman

Concise Birds of the Western Palearctic
Collins Bird Guide
Bird Atlas 2007 – 2011 –

21 December 2013 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: breeding, robin, song, spotlight, territory