Species: American Robin
The American Robin is one of the
best-known birds and a common sight across North America – the
quintessential birds of garden lawns and parks where they can be
seen searching for earthworms.
One of the first birds to arrive in spring the American Robin is a
member of the Thrush family and was given its name by early
settlers, who thought that, with its reddish breast, it resembled
the English Robin.
American Robins breed north to Alaska, across Canada, and southward
to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the United States and into
General: Large and sturdy with
round body, long legs and fairly long tail. Adults measure about 25
cm long and weigh about 77 grams.
Adult Male: Nape and upper back dark
gray / blackish, darker head with white eye crescents and dark tail
showing white corners in flight. Bill yellow often with a black tip.
Adult Female: Duller gray
upperparts with duller reddish/orange breast and paler head. Whitish
belly with dark tail showing white corners in flight. Bill yellow
often with black tip.
Juvenile: Large black breast
spots with pale supercilium and duller, pinkish bill. Recent
fledglings show prominent gape and natal down giving them a wispy,
Similar Species: Spotted Towhee
has white spotting on back Varied Thrush is dark blue/gray above
with a distinct breast band.
Behaviour: Watch an American
Robin strut across a lawn. Notice how it takes several steps, then
adopts an alert, upright stance with its breast held forward. When
landing they habitually flick their tails.
Habitat: Although common in
gardens, parks and residential areas they are also at home in
wilderness areas and mountain forests and are found in most habitat
types except marshes preferring open areas in winter.
Many American Robins spend the whole
winter in their breeding range but spend more time roosting in trees
so are less visible. These winter roosts can include as many as
250 000 birds and are a way to protect against predators and to
locate feeding areas.
The American Robin has an extendible esophagus for storing fruit
allowing the robin to survive low nighttime temperatures during the
winter months. Fruit is a major part of the birds diet at this time
of the year.
Migrating American Robins are not nocturnal migrants like many
songbirds but travel during the day. They begin their northward
movement in late February arriving in Canada in early March.
Temperature is a key factor in their migration, for the birds need
soft ground in order to dig for earthworms.
American Robins can produce three successful broods in one year but
research has shown that on average only 40 percent of nests
successfully produce young – of those only about 25 percent survive
to November and only about half of those will make it to the next
meaning that the entire population turns over on average every six
The longevity record for American Robin is 13 years and 11 months.
Conservation Status: (Least Concern)
Populations appear to be stable or increasing throughout range.
Because the robin forages largely on lawns, it is vulnerable to
predation from domestic cats and pesticide poisoning but unlike many
species, the American Robin has adapted well to habitat disturbance
adapting to urbanization. Deforestation, the growth of urban areas,
and the increase in farmland have all contributed to the breeding
habitat for this bird.
Usually a short-distance migrant, American Robin can remain
in the Lower Mainland through the winter depending on local
weather conditions. They are among the first species to
return to their breeding grounds as seen by the spike in
capture rate (2010-2012; standardized as birds captured per
100 net hours) in March then again in June - August when
young are dispersing. If American Robin do remain over the
winter however, they are usually seen not extremely active
and congregating at large roost sites high up in trees as
suggested by our zero capture rates between November –