Birds – The European robin

Birds – The European robin

The European robin

The European robin male

In this article we will see: “The European robin “, birds, diverse and captivating, grace our skies with their melodies. From vibrant plumage to impressive flights, they captivate with endless wonders.

Birds – The European robin

Brief Background

The European robin (Erithacus rubecula) is a small bird species that measures about 13 cm in length, with a wingspan of 73 mm. The upper body, wings, and tail are grayish-brown, while the belly is whitish. It has a reddish-orange face, cheeks, throat, and chest. The beak is dark olive-brown, the eyes are dark brownish, and the legs are grayish-brown. Adults weigh around 16 g.

Appearance and Behaviour

With a dull-colored mantle but a vibrant breast, the European robin is one of the most beloved species in gardens. It is often referred to as the “Robin” by the British and is their national bird. The robin has a discreet and somewhat elusive nature, but it frequently pauses during its movements. It quietly goes about its life around houses, displaying the typical features and proportions of a small thrush: a slender, straight, and pointed beak; an upright body; and long legs. On the ground, it hops swiftly, and while flying, it stays close to the ground, seeking cover.

Depending on whether it is accepted or chased away, the European robin can be either familiar or wary. In some cases, it even takes food from a person’s hand. This behavior is particularly common in the United Kingdom, where this bird, like many others, enjoys widespread affection. Preferring shady and moderately humid areas over dry and arid zones, the European robin likes to settle among brambles and thickets, on the edges of forests, near clearings, and in large parks and gardens.

The European robin

The European robin female

The European robin's voice sample

The European robin produces short “tsit-tsit” calls and has a melodious song consisting of whistles and trills, which is pleasant to hear.


Feeding primarily on the ground, the European robin enjoys insects, small spiders, worms, and other small creatures such as mollusks. It may also supplement its diet with berries. During winter, it can become quite assertive around feeding stations where it appreciates the fat provided.


As a quarrelsome and solitary bird, the European robin does not tolerate intruders on its territory. Through its song and threatening postures, each neighbor defends its boundaries. The males arrive first, taking possession of the territory in March. The females join them later, and couples form after some initial tension. Nest site selection and construction are the responsibility of the female. In April, the nest is built on the ground, preferably sheltered by a stump, a stone, or even in climbing ivy, a garden shed, or an abandoned flowerpot. The nest is made of dead leaves, moss, and twigs, lined with horsehair and roots.

The European robin's eggs

The European robin’s eggs

The first clutch of eggs, consisting of six eggs, is laid in late April or early May. The eggs have a creamy whitish background color with varying shades of diluted reddish-brown spots. They measure an average of 15 x 19 mm and weigh about 2.5 g. The female incubates the eggs alone for two weeks. Both adults participate in raising the young, which leave the nest at three weeks of age. There can be two or sometimes three broods per year.


While the European robin is sedentary in regions like Brittany and England, birds from Scandinavia migrate southward in September and October. The most adventurous individuals may reach the Iberian Peninsula and even North Africa. France attracts many birds from the north and east.


The European robin breeds throughout Europe, from Gibraltar to the northern Baltic Sea. In the east, its breeding range extends to the Ural Mountains. The bird is also known in North Africa and Asia Minor.

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A final word

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