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European Robin

European Robin

Scientific classification
Binomial name
Erithacus rubecula

The European Robin (Erithacus rubecula), is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher, Muscicapidae. It, and similar small European species, are often called chatss.

It is a common European songbird, known for its pugnacious behaviour despite its diminutive size.

Robins have a fluting, warbling song in the breeding season. Both males and females sing during the winter, when they hold separate territories, the song then sounding more plaintive than the summer version. Robins often sing into the evening, and sometimes into the night, leading some to confuse them with the Nightingale.

Robins build a neat cup nest in crevices, holes or articial sites such as discarded kettles.

The robin is well-known to British gardeners: it is relatively unafraid of humans and likes to come close when digging is going on, in order to look out for worms and other food freshly turned up: when the gardener stops for a break the robin will often use the handle of the spade as a lookout point. Robins in continental Europe are more wary.

British robins are largely resident but some, usually female, migrate to Spain and southern Europe during winter.

Scandinavian and Russian robins migrate to Britain to escape the harsher winters. These migrants can be recognised by the greyer tone to their upperparts and more orange breast.

The "robin redbreast" has much folklore surrounding it (especially various explanations as to how it acquired its blood-red front) and has become strongly associated with Christmas, taking a starring role on many a Christmas card.

The larger American Robin, Turdus migratorius, is named for its similarity to this bird, not because they are closely related. (The similarity lies largely in the orange chest patch in both species, which has led to the common nickname "robin redbreast".)

The Australian "robin redbreast", more correctly the Scarlet Robin, also looks and behaves in a similar way, but is more closely related to the crows and jays than it is to the European Robin.