text in the form of a rubber stamp, slanting at angle
portrait of a robin gazing out from half-profile, wings folded

ROBIN

The American robin - a vital distinction

small section divider pattern resembling wings in orange colour

Just a word about the American robin and the distinction between it and the subject of these pages, the British or European redbreast. Though folks in the US and Canada are familiar with a bird they have named robin for centuries now, it is in fact an entirely different species (Turdus migratorius) when compared to the British robin (Erithacus rubecula). It has different behaviours and a different appearance and song.

 

Same applies to Australian robins. There are several birds Down Under with the term 'robin' included in their names. Its due to European settlers in the past who, when they first began to inhabit places overseas, tended to apply the name of 'robin' to the first bird they saw with a red breast. It was a perfectly forgivable combination of fondness and nostalgia for the wildlife back home, but was made without being aware of the proper classification of species that we enjoy today.

two robins side by side - American and British

The American robin (left) and European robin (right)

The American robin is a member of the thrush family, and is around twice the size of the British one. Also, because it migrates during winter, the American bird is considered a welcome sign of spring when it returns from its travels. But over here, the majority of British robins stay put in winter, on their home turf, with just a few exceptions mostly females - who just occasionally elect to go away to warmer climes during the harshest days of the British winter. The majority that remain are conspicuous winter birds, therefore, and this is partly why you see them so often depicted on Christmas cards here in the UK.

 

So, if you are visiting this site from the US or Canada, please dont take the information provided here as being applicable to your bird. It isnt. They are all lovely, of course - all robins - but this website is all about the one that lives in the British garden.