10 Incredible Robin Facts

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Published: September 11, 2022
© iStock.com/Mason Maron
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Over 120 bird species have “robin” in their names. This doesn’t mean they’re related to American robins or somewhat similar. Other robins include bush, magpie, and robin chats. Scarlet Robins and other ground-feeding Muscicapidae in New Guinea and Australia are called “robins.” We’ll focus on the American Robin today. The American robin is a member of the thrush family Turdidae (Turdus migratorius). It winters throughout the Pacific Coast, southern Canada, and central Mexico. Read on for 10 incredible robin facts!

The American Robin is one of North America’s most prevalent species of backyard bird species.

©Linhan Z/Shutterstock.com

American robins are numerous and quite typical. The American Robin is one of North America’s most prevalent species of backyard birds, with an estimated global population of over 300 million. They are so common that their abundance can be used to gauge the state of the surrounding ecosystem.

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It’s a testament to the American robins’ widespread acclaim that it has been named the state bird of not one but three distinct states: Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Its iconic likeness is frequently featured on flags, coinage, and other symbols.

2. American Robins Are the Largest Thrushes in North America

American robin flying from the tree
American robins are spherical, with long tails and skinny legs.

©iStock.com/mirceax

The American robin is the largest thrush in North America and a sizable songbird. They’re spherical, with long tails and skinny legs. Additional native thrushes of North America include the bluebird, wood thrush, hermit thrush, olive-backed thrush, and gray-cheeked thrush.

3. Robins Are Known To Be Great Singers

The syrinx, the robin’s version of the larynx in humans, allows American robins to generate a wide range of calls and songs. Especially common in the early morning, when they join the other songbirds for the “dawn chorus,” their melodic songs can be heard throughout the day.

4.   American Robins Are Omnivores

American robin eating a berry
American robins love to eat earthworms, berries, fruits, and insects.

©iStock.com/mirceax

The American Robins’ food primarily consists of earthworms, berries, and various fruits and insects. A robin will likely visit your yard in quest of earthworms, and you may even catch it with a worm in its beak.

Though they eat many other foods, earthworms make up the bulk of the American Robins’ diet. Robins, for example, can eat up to 14 feet of earthworms in a single day, making up a sizable portion of their diet (around 40%). In the summer, worms make up as much as 15% of their diet.

They are regulars at feeders and prefer to eat suet and mealworms. They rarely eat nuts or seeds, but you could occasionally spot them at a bird feeder.

5.   They Eat Different Types Of Food Depending On The Time Of Year

When it comes to earthworms, American robins prefer to eat them first thing in the morning, maybe because there are more of them available. When evening rolls around, they start snacking on fruits and berries. Similarly, American Robins’ food changes with the seasons, focusing on worms during the summer and spring when they are abundant, and then a shift to berries and fruits once the ground cools.

6.   American Robins Hunt Mostly By Eyesight

American robin perched on a branch
The male American robin is generally the last bird heard singing at sunset.

©iStock.com/PhotosByMSA

Contrary to widespread belief, American Robins do not rely solely on their keen hearing to detect and identify wriggling worms beneath the soil’s surface. In their pursuit of worms, American Robins, as with most birds, possess an exceptional vision that allows them to spot even the most minute changes in their environment. Thanks to their ability to see with only one eye, they can follow moving objects without coordinating their movements.

7.   American Robins Can Brood Up To 3 Times A Year

In a normal year, American Robins will lay an average of two eggs. The mother will normally lay four eggs at this time, though she can lay as many as seven. The next 12-14 days are spent in the mother’s womb before the eggs hatch. The babies remain inside the nest for another 14-16 days before being flung.

8.   American Robin Eggs Are Blue

American robin feeding babies
The blue color of the American Robins’ developing eggs is due to bile pigments and hemoglobin inside the blood.

©Danita Delimont/Shutterstock.com

The famously pale blue color of American robin eggs is common knowledge, and Robins’ egg blue is their trademarked hue. Women are to thank for the creation of this gorgeous shade. The blue color of the developing eggs is due to bile pigments and hemoglobin inside the blood.

9. Unfortunately, Not All Nesting Reproduction Is Successful

It’s tough being an American robin. It’s estimated that only approximately 40% of breeding partners produce offspring. It is estimated that just 25% of young birds who leave the nest for the first time make it through the winter. An average clutch consists of four to six eggs and is typically laid in the morning. Birds are particularly sensitive to interference during nest building and egg laying. Therefore they will swiftly leave the nest if they think it has been discovered.

10.   Young Robins Depend On Their Parents Even After Leaving The Nest

American robin with a berry in its mouth
For the first couple of weeks or so, the young American robins stay near their parents on the ground and beg for food.

©iStock.com/weaver1234

You can still find baby American robins spending time with mom long after leaving the nest. For the next couple of weeks or so, before they learn to fly independently, the young birds stay near their parents on the ground and beg for food. After a year or so, they reach sexual maturity and can start a new generation.

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The Featured Image

What Do Robins Eat
A Robin hunting earthworms in the grass.
© iStock.com/Mason Maron

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About the Author

A substantial part of my life has been spent as a writer and artist, with great respect to observing nature with an analytical and metaphysical eye. Upon close investigation, the natural world exposes truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of all that we are is embodied in our planet; and the process of writing and creating art around this topic is an attempt to communicate its wonders.

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Sources
  1. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_robin
  2. Britannica, Available here: https://www.britannica.com/animal/robin
  3. The Spruce, Available here: https://www.thespruce.com/american-robin-facts-4143588