Discover All Types of Robin Birds

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: September 8, 2023
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Robins are often associated with large songbirds that possess warm red breasts and dark heads and bodies. And despite how it sounds, not all birds with the name โ€œrobinโ€ are from the same family. The red robin birds you often find in America are New World thrushes, while the European robin it was named after is actually an Old-World flycatcher. So, to keep confusion down, this article will cover birds with the word โ€œrobinโ€ in their names. Discover all types of robin birds, including those from the Americas and other parts of the world.

1. American Robin โ€” Red Robin Bird

American robin

American robins are large with round bodies and warm tones. They have grayish-brown plumage with rusty red bellies.

©iStock.com/Silfox

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Most of us have heard the expression โ€œThe early bird gets the worm.โ€ The American robin is that famous early bird! They live year-round across most of the United States and can often be spotted early in the morning pulling worms from your yard. Canada and Alaska have breeding populations that stay there for the summer before heading to warmer grounds in the Southern U.S. and Mexico. Other than in your backyard, you can also find American robins in fields, parks, forests, mountains, and tundra. These thrushes are large with round bodies and warm tones. They have grayish-brown plumage with rusty red bellies.

2. European Robin

European Robin sitting on a branch.

The American robin was named after the European robin for their similar red breasts, but they are not closely related.

©Tomatito/Shutterstock.com

Not to be confused with the American robin, the European robin, also known as the robin redbreast, is an Old-World flycatcher in the chat subfamily. The American robin was named after the European robin for their similar red breasts, but they are not closely related. These birds are grayish brown with reddish-range faces and chests and white bellies. They live throughout most of Europe, Central Asia, and North Africa, where they inhabit moist spruce forests. You can also find them in gardens and backyards.

3. Rufous-Backed Robin

rufous-backed robin

The rufous-backed robin mostly inhabits dry deciduous forests on the Pacific slope of Mexico.

©VIKVAD/Shutterstock.com

The rufous-backed robin belongs to the thrush family and is endemic to Mexico. They are related to the American robin but appear smaller and darker in color. Their plumage is rufous (reddish-brown) with dark gray heads, wings, and tails. They also feature white throats and white bellies. Rufous-backed robins inhabit dry deciduous forests on the Pacific slope of Mexico, and some vagrants may reach the U.S. border. They are inconspicuous compared to their American cousins, but you will find them in flocks during winter.

4. White-Throated Robin

white-throated robin

White-throated robins have gray upperparts and orange undersides with black faces and white throats.

©Abdullah Durman/Shutterstock.com

The white-throated robin is a small passerine once thought to be a part of the thrush family but is now considered an Old-World flycatcher, like the European robin. This species is migratory, breeding in Western Asia and wintering in East Africa. They are occasional vagrants in Europe. They live in thickets in dry woodlands. They are larger than their European relatives but similar in appearance. These birds have gray upperparts and orange undersides with black faces and white throats.

5. Siberian Blue Robin

siberian blue robin

Siberian

blue robins build their nests in the undergrowth of coniferous forests near rivers or woodland edges.

©Tuah Roslan/Shutterstock.com

The Siberian blue robin is also a newly reclassified species, moving from the thrush to the Old-World flycatcher family. This species breeds in the eastern Palearctic and winters in Southern Asia. They range from Siberia to Japan and Indonesia. They build their nests in the dense undergrowth of coniferous forests near rivers or woodland edges. You will often find this species foraging on the ground or skulking through dense vegetation. Unlike the other robins in this list, the Siberian blue features dark blue upperparts and white underparts. 

6. Black Robin

black robin

The black robin is native to the Chatham Islands off the eastern coast of Australia.

©Narith15/Shutterstock.com

Black robins, also known as Chatham Island robins, are native to the Chatham Islands off the eastern coast of Australia. Their species is endangered due to introduced mammalian predators, such as rats and cats. This robin belongs to the Petroicidae family, which encompasses the Australian robins, distant relatives of the European robin. This species is all-black and about the size of a sparrow. They live in lowland scrub forests, foraging on the forest floor and nesting in hollow trees.

7. Flame Robin

flame robin

Flame robins live in temperate regions in wet eucalyptus forests in mountainous areas.

©Mari_May/Shutterstock.com

The flame robin is another Australian robin common in the cooler regions of Southeastern Australia. They get their name from their bright reddish-orange chests and throats. Their heads, backs, wings, and tails are dark grayish brown with white bars on their wings and a white patch on their foreheads. This species lives in temperate regions in wet eucalyptus forests in mountainous areas. They are also abundant in areas recently burned by bushfires, leaving once the undergrowth regrows.

8. Red-Capped Robin

red-capped robin

These are striking birds easy to identify in their native range of Australia.

©David Ongley/Shutterstock.com

Red-capped robins receive their name from the fluffy red caps of hair on their foreheads. Their breasts are scarlet red, and they have white bellies with jet-black upperparts and white barring. They are striking birds easy to identify in their native range of Australia. They are widespread across the continent but not particularly common. They prefer arid habitats, like scrublands and woodlands. Most populations are sedentary within their range, although some seasonal movements exist.

Summary of Types of Robin Birds

Here’s a recap of the birds with “robin” in their names that we took a look at.

NumberBirdFamily / TypeRange
1American robinThrushLive year-round across most of the U. S.;
Canada and Alaska have breeding populations
2European robinOld-World flycatcherThroughout most of Europe, Central Asia, and North Africa
3Rufous-backed robinThrushEndemic to Mexico
4White-throated robinOld-World flycatcherMigratory, breeding in Western Asia and wintering in East Africa
5Siberian blue robinOld-World flycatcherSiberia to Japan and Indonesia
6Black robinPetroicidae (Australian robin)Native to the Chatham Islands off the eastern coast of Australia
7Flame robinPetroicidae (Australian robin)Common in cooler regions of southeastern Australia
8Red-capped robinPetroicidae (Australian robin)Widespread but not common in Australia

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/PhotosByMSA


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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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