American Robin Bird (Turdus migratorius)

american robin

The American robin (Turdus migratorius) is a migratory songbird that breeds in North America from Alaska and Newfoundland south to the northern United States, Mexico, and the Bahamas.

The American robin is not related to the European Robin nor to the Australian Robin. It received its name because of its reddish-orange breast, set against a rich brown background,. the colors of the coat-of-arms of Britain’s King Charles I, who reigned when this bird was first recorded in North America.

Turdus migratorius is native to North America and the most common migratory songbird in the Western Hemisphere, as well as the state bird of Connecticut, Indiana, and Wisconsin. While robins have many identifying characteristics, including their red breast, long tail, and tufted head, it’s their song that is truly unmistakable.

Description

american robin

The American robin is a migratory songbird of the true thrush genus and Turdidae, the wider thrush family. The American robin is widely distributed throughout North America, wintering from southern Canada to central Mexico and along the Pacific Coast. It is the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Males and females are identical in plumage, but juveniles have darker heads than adults.

The American robin inhabits both deciduous and coniferous forests, as well as scrubland; it has adapted well to urban environments as long as sufficient trees and bushes are available. In autumn migration, these birds mainly fly at night when they are occasionally preyed upon by large owls such as great horned owls or Cooper’s hawks that silently fly below them.

American robin scientific name

The scientific name of the American robin is Turdus migratorius

Habitat & distribution

The American robin is a migratory songbird that ranges across most of North America. In the spring and summer, it can be found in woods, gardens, and parks throughout the United States and Canada. In the fall and winter, it retreats to southern states and Mexico.

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Robins are commonly seen perched on tree branches or foraging for food on the ground. They eat earthworms, caterpillars, grubs, insects, snails, berries, and other fruit. They typically nest in thick bushes or low trees near the ground.

Size and weight

The American robin is a medium-sized songbird measuring approximately 8 – 11 inches in length and 77 g in weight.

Feathers and plumage

american robin

The American robin is a beautiful bird with bright plumage. The back and wings are dark brown or black, while the underparts are bright orange-red. This coloration is quite striking and makes the American robin one of the most easily recognizable birds in North America.

The tail is also orange-red, with a black band near the tip. males and females look similar, although the male plumage is usually brighter. Both sexes have a distinctive white eye ring and line running through the eye. Juveniles have more rufous on their upper parts than adults, but this difference disappears as they mature.

Molting

One of the most noticeable things about the American robin is its molting process. This is when the bird sheds its old feathers and grows new ones. The molting process usually takes place over a period of several weeks. During this time, the bird may appear scruffy or bedraggled.

But once the new feathers come in, the bird will look sleek and beautiful again. Birds also molt to prepare for winter. They have to use their energy reserves to stay warm during the cold winter months. The time they spend feeding while they are molting helps them conserve energy.

When the birds return from their migration route, they need more energy than usual because of their journey so they molt right away to grow new feathers and store up fat before winter sets in.

American robin nesting habits

Robins typically nest in trees, using small twigs and leaves to build a cup-shaped nest. The female will lay 3-5 eggs, which are incubated for 12-14 days. Once the chicks hatch, they are fed by both parents and fledge the nest after about 2 weeks. Robins are known for their song; males sing throughout the year to attract females, while females sing just before laying eggs and during the nesting season.

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Diet and foraging

Robins are omnivorous and eat a variety of foods, including insects, earthworms, berries, and fruits. Their diet varies depending on the season and their location. In the spring and summer, robins eat mostly insects, which they find by using their keen eyesight to spot them on the ground. In the fall and winter, when insects are scarce, robins switch to a diet of fruits and berries.

American robin song and vocal behavior

The American robin is perhaps best known for its melodious song, which is typically given in a bout of dawn chorus singing during the breeding season. However, the robin also has a variety of other vocalizations that it uses to communicate, including clicks, cackles, chirps, and purrs.

The different sounds may be used to convey different messages, such as warning other birds of predators or indicating a desire to mate.

Breeding

american robin

American robins usually breed shortly after returning to their summer ranges. They are one of the first North American birds to lay eggs and have two to three broods per breeding season, which runs from April to July.

The average location of the nest is from 1.5 to 4.5 meters (4.9 to 14.8 feet) above the ground in dense bushes or in a fork between two tree branches. This structure is built entirely by the female. The outer foundation is typically a bed of long coarse grass, twigs, paper, and feathers. Mud stains the border and soft grass or other items make up the lining.

American robins create a new nest for each brood, which may either be placed in a coniferous or deciduous tree. They don’t seem to shy away from nesting near humans.

Three to five light blue eggs are laid in a clutch, which is incubated by the female American robin alone for 14 days. The American robin eggs hatch after 14 days, and the chicks leave the nest after two weeks. As soon as they hatch, altricial chicks are naked and have their eyes closed.

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The chicks are fed dirt, bugs, and berries, and they don’t build up any waste. That’s because the adults collect it and take it away. After the chicks are fed, they raise their tails, and then their parents quickly swoop in to clean them up before the next round of flying begins.

Two weeks after fledging, the juveniles become capable of sustained flight. Chicks in the brood leave the nest within two days of one another. Banders have found that only 25 percent of young robins survive their first year in the wild.

Lifespan

According to the National Audubon Society, the longest known lifespan of an American robin in the wild is 14 years, though their average lifespan is 2 years.

Movements and migration

The American Robin is a migratory bird, meaning that it will travel long distances in order to find a suitable habitat. It typically moves south in the fall and north in the spring. However, some robins may remain in their current location if the weather is mild. The bird’s movements are influenced by many factors, including food availability and reproductive needs.

Conservation and management

There are about 370 million American robins, which live in a large area estimated at 16,000,000 km2 (6,200,000 sq mi). In central California, the western subspecies of the species (Turdus migratorius propinquus) are expanding their range, as is likely the case in many other American states.

Although climate change and severe weather pose a threat to it, the population trend appears to be stable, and according to the population trend criterion (>30% decline over the past ten years or three generations), it does not approach the vulnerable species thresholds, which is why the International Union for Conservation of Nature rated it as least concern.

This bird was previously hunted for its meat, but the Migratory Bird Treaty Act has protected it across its range throughout the United States.

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