American RobinTurdus migratorius

adult male
Claude Nadeau/VIREO
adult male
Bob Steele/VIREO
juvenile
James M. Wedge/VIREO
adult
Garth McElroy/VIREO
adult male with nestlings
Ron Austing/VIREO
adult female
Arthur Morris/VIREO
American Robin
American Robin

Family

Description

9-11" (23-28 cm). Gray above, brick red below. Head and tail black in males, dull gray in females. Young birds are spotted below.

Voice

Song is a series of rich caroling notes, rising and falling in pitch: cheer-up, cheerily, cheer-up, cheerily.

Listen

whinny calls
zeeeup flight note NY (le)
song #1
whinny calls
song & whinny call
dawn song NY (le)
peek & tut calls (nest alarm)
whisper songs
song #2
high seee (hawk alarm) MI

Habitat

Towns, gardens, open woodlands, and agricultural land.

Range

Breeds from Alaska east across continent to Newfoundland and south to California, Texas, Arkansas, and South Carolina. Winters north to British Columbia and Newfoundland.

Discussion

Robins originally nested in forests; where they still do so they are much shyer than the robins of the dooryard. They breed only rarely in the Deep South, where they prefer large shade trees on lawns. Although considered a harbinger of spring, robins often winter in the northern states, where they frequent cedar bogs and swamps and are not usually noticed by a casual observer, except when they gather in large roosts, often containing thousands of birds. The mainstay of the American Robin is earthworms. It hunts on lawns, standing stock-still with head cocked to one side as though listening for its prey but actually discovering it by sight.

Nesting

3-5 blue-green eggs in a well-made cup of mud reinforced with grass and twigs, lined with softer grasses, and placed in a tree or on a ledge or windowsill. Robins usually have two broods a season.

Similar Species

adult

Wood Thrush

8" (20 cm). Starling-sized. Brown above, bright rusty color on head, and white below with large blackish spots. Other brown thrushes have finer spotting on breast.

adult male

Varied Thrush

9-10" (23-25 cm). Superficially similar to American Robin.

adult male

Clay-colored Thrush

9-10 1/2" (23-27 cm). Resembles a pale, tawny-beige American Robin. Head and upperparts grayish to tawny brown; bill yellow; legs pale; throat pale with dusky streaking; underparts buff.

adult male

Eastern Towhee

7-8 1/2" (17-22 cm). Male has black hood, back, and wings. Tail black with white edging on outer feathers; breast and belly white with bright rufous sides.

adult male, interior

Spotted Towhee

7-8 1/2" (17-22 cm). Male head, chest, rump, and tail black; back and wings black, with many white spots; sides rufous; midbelly white. Female: brown replaces black of male.

Vireo

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