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American Robin
Turdus migratorius
Anatomy of a Bird

The American Robin is a familiar sight pulling up worms on suburban lawns. Although it's at home breeding in deep, mature forests, the robin is the most widespread thrush in North American thanks to a tolerance for human-modified habitats.

Range Map My Photos Of This Bird
© 2003 Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Cool Facts Taxonomic Hierarchy Illustration
  • Hundreds of thousands of American Robins can gather in a single winter roost. In summer, females sleep on the nests and males congregate in roosts. As young robins become independent, they join the males in the roost. Female adults go to the roosts only after they have finished nesting.
  • The American Robin eats both fruit and invertebrates. Earthworms are important during the breeding season, but fruit is the main diet during winter. Robins eat different types of food depending on the time of day; they eat earthworms early in the day and more fruit later in the day. Because the robin forages largely on lawns, it is vulnerable to pesticide poisoning and can be an important indicator of chemical pollution.
  • An American Robin can produce three successful broods in one year. On average, though, only 40 percent of nests successfully produce young. Only 25 percent of those fledged young survive to November. From that point on, about half of the robins alive in any year will make it to the next. Despite the fact that a lucky robin can live to be 14 years old, the entire population turns over on average every six years.
  • Although the appearance of a robin is considered a harbinger of spring, the American Robin actually spends the winter in much of its breeding range. However, because they spend less time in yards and congregate in large flocks during winter, you're much less likely to see them. The number of robins present in the northern parts of the range varies each year with the local conditions.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
     Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Turdidae
Genus: Turdus
Species: Turdus migratorius
  • Turdus migratorius achrusterus
  • Turdus migratorius caurinus
  • Turdus migratorius confinis
  • Turdus migratorius migratorius
  • Turdus migratorius nigrideus
  • Turdus migratorius propinquus
Photo taken from:
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America by David Allen Sibley




Adult Description

  • Size: 20-28 cm (8-11 in)
  • Wingspan: 31-40 cm (12-16 in)
  • Weight: 77 g (2.72 ounces)
  • large thrush.
  • Back and wings gray.
  • Underparts red.
  • Dark head with white eye crescents.
  • Throat white with black streaks.
  • Lower belly and under tail white.
  • Gray tail moderately long with white spots at corners of outer tail feathers.
  • Bill yellow.
  • Occasionally show pale eyestripes on pale individuals.
Sex Differences
Sexes look similar; female paler, especially on head.
Juvenile looks somewhat similar to adult, but has black spotting on underparts, pale spotting on upperparts, white throat, and paler head.
Song a musical whistled phrase, "cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheer up." Call note a sharp "chup." Also a very high-pitched thin whistling note.

  • Breeding Location: Forests, coniferous, Forest edge, Grassland with scattered trees, Bushes, shrubs, and thickets, Grasslands
  • Breeding Type: Monogamous, Solitary nester
  • Breeding Population: Widespread, Abundant
  • Egg Color: Pale blue sometimes flecked with brown
  • Number of Eggs: 3 - 7
  • Incubation Days: 12 - 14
  • Egg Incubator: Female
  • Nest Material: Lined with fine material., Grasses and mud
  • Migration: Migratory
  • Condition at Hatching: Helpless at birth, mostly naked with spare whitish down.
Body Head Flight
  • Length Range: 25 cm (10 in)
  • Weight: 77 g (2.7 oz)
  • Size: 3. Medium (9 - 16 in)
  • Color Primary: Brown, Gray, Rufous or Rust
  • Underparts: Red-orange
  • Upperparts: Gray
  • Back Pattern: Solid
  • Belly Pattern: Solid
  • Breast Pattern: Solid
  • Bill Shape: All-purpose
  • Eye Color: Dark brown.
  • Head Pattern: Plain, Streaked, Eyering
  • Crown Color: Dark Gray
  • Forehead Color: Dark Gray
  • Nape Color: Dark Gray
  • Throat Color: Dark gray with white streaking.
  • Cere color: No Data
  • Flight Pattern: Swift strong direct flight.
  • Wingspan Range: 36-41 cm (14-16 in)
  • Wing Shape: Rounded-Wings
  • Tail Shape: Fan-shaped Tail
  • Tail Pattern: Solid
  • Upper Tail: Gray
  • Under Tail: White
  • Leg Color: Gray


Food Habitat
Forages primarily on the ground for soft-bodied invertebrates. Finds worms by sight, then pounces on them and pulls them up. Invertebrates, especially earthworms, and fruit.
  • Found in forests, woodlands, and gardens, especially where short-grass areas are interspersed with shrubs and trees.
  • Common in urban and suburban areas.
Other Names Similar Species Conservation Status
  • Merle d'Amérique (French)
  • Mirlo primavera (Spanish)
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Western Bluebird
  • Varied Thrush
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Eastern Towhee
  • Rufous-backed Robin
  • Eyebrowed Thrush
  • White-throated Robin
  • Clay-colored Robin
Populations appear stable or increasing throughout its range. Because the robin forages largely on lawns, it is vulnerable to pesticide poisoning and can be an important indicator of chemical pollution.
Video Sources Used To Construct This Page:


  • Sallabanks, R., and F. C. James. 1999. American Robin (Turdus migratorius). In The Birds of North America, No. 462 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

All photos © 2008 Rick Swartzentrover - Free for non-profit use.
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