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What is an American Robin?

Ken Black
Ken Black

An American robin is a songbird that belongs to a group of birds known as thrushes, and are the largest of the group in North America. The species is one of the most prevalent in North America, found in every state, as well as Canada and Mexico. The American robin often symbolizes the coming of spring, as it is one of the first species many see after the winter, even though many may not migrate at all.

Identifying the American robin is typically a very easy task. The bird has a distinctive orange breast and a gray to dark gray back. Their heads are typically dark, but females have a slightly lighter shade of head color. The bird is comparable in size to a cardinal. They have small, straight yellow beaks, suitable for their predatory and foraging lifestyle.


The diet of the American robin is varied, though they generally prefer various types of insects and worms, but will also eat berries and fruits when insects are not available, such as in the winter. They are known as ground foragers, often hopping or jumping from one spot to another looking for food, which can make them vulnerable to predators, especially the young birds who may not be as watchful as the more mature birds. In the fall, when the American robin's diet focuses more on berries, the birds may even become intoxicated on honeysuckle berries.

The migratory habits of the American robin vary depending on where the bird lives. Some may migrate, but others form large groups in the winter, and spend most of the time in trees where they keep close together and spend very little energy, as both berries and insects are hard to find in many locations during the coldest times of the year.

The female American robin builds chooses the location for its nests, then builds them from the center to the edges. Robins typically build their nests in the lower half of the tree, just behind a layer of leaves and on horizontal branches. These nests are weaved together from various materials, most likely twigs, grasses and even materials humans may leave behind. Eggs are typically 1.1 to 1.2 inches (2.8 to 3 cm) long, and robins typically lay anywhere from three to five.

The young American robins mature very quickly, with the incubation in the egg lasting approximately two weeks. The young birds stay in the nest approximately two weeks after that before they are able to venture out on their own. The birds have a tough time surviving, with a mere 40 percent of nests successfully producing offspring and only a quarter of those birds that do make it, will survive until the fall.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an American Robin?

The American Robin, scientifically known as Turdus migratorius, is a migratory songbird of the thrush family. It is known for its distinctive orange-red breast, gray back, and melodious song. Common across North America, these birds are often associated with the arrival of spring and are a familiar sight in gardens, parks, and woodlands.

How can you identify an American Robin?

An American Robin can be identified by its orange-red breast and belly, contrasting with its gray back, wings, and tail. Males typically have brighter coloration than females. They have a white patch around their eyes, a yellow beak, and are known for their upright posture and hopping behavior on lawns as they forage for worms and insects.

What does the American Robin eat?

American Robins have a varied diet that changes with the seasons. They primarily eat earthworms, insects, and snails during the spring and summer. As colder weather approaches, they switch to fruits and berries. Their adaptability in diet helps them thrive in diverse environments across their range.

Where do American Robins live?

American Robins are found throughout North America, from Alaska and Canada down through Mexico. They inhabit a range of environments including forests, mountains, fields, and urban areas. Their adaptability to different habitats is one reason for their widespread presence across the continent.

Do American Robins migrate?

Yes, American Robins are migratory birds. While some populations in the northern parts of their range migrate southwards for the winter, others in milder climates may remain year-round. Migration patterns can vary widely, with some robins traveling long distances and others moving only short distances to find food.

How do American Robins reproduce?

American Robins are known for their blue eggs and typically breed from April to July. They can have 2-3 broods per season, with each clutch containing 3-5 eggs. The female incubates the eggs for about 14 days, and both parents feed the chicks, which fledge approximately two weeks after hatching. Their nesting habits contribute to their successful proliferation across their range.

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What types of berries and fruits do american robins eat?

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