Erithacus rubecula


  • Order : Passeriformes
  • Family : Muscicapidae
  • Genus : Erithacus
  • Species : Rubecula


  • Linnaeus, 1758


  • Size: 14 cm
  • Wingspan : 20 to 22 cm
  • Weight : 16 to 22 g


15 years



The vocal emissions of the robin are typical. The most frequent call is a metallic “tic” of excitement, often repeated in staccato and expressing a form of anxiety. In the very excited bird, it can be emitted at a very fast rhythm. It is the call used by adults near the nest in case of danger for example. Another classic call consists of a short, high-pitched, penetrating “tsiih” that can be considered a contact call. The song is very characteristic. It is a sequence of whistled and rolled notes, of high pitch, like a soft and liquid babble, which seems to flow naturally along a continuous phrase. This species has the particularity to know a resumption of the song in autumn, song which will be used by the males in winter to defend a food territory. This song is considered softer than the spring song.




The House Robin is a small, plump bird with relatively short wings that barely reach the middle of the tail. The adult is easily recognizable by the orange color that covers the entire front of the body, forehead, lores, sides of the head, neck and breast. This large orange area is bordered by a light gray band that is not very visible on the top of the forehead and on the sides of the neck and chest. The rest of the underside is dirty white washed with russet on the flanks. The upper parts are of a brown shaded with olive, rather dark. The rump and the supra-caudals are of a slightly warmer brown. The remiges are hemmed with buff, which lightens a little the closed wing on which stand out the darker primary coverts. The eye is dark. The thin, short and straight bill is dark brown, with the base a little lighter. The legs are reddish or brownish according to the light, sometimes pinkish.

The juvenile has a silhouette similar to that of the adult, but a very different appearance. The orange color is absent. The whole body is brown, largely speckled with russet buff as it is the rule in the muscicapids. The future orange plastron nevertheless already shows because at this level the feathers are more reddish than elsewhere. Nevertheless, it will be necessary to wait for the postjuvenile moult to see the first orange feathers appear. On the closed wing a reddish bar formed by the points of the large covers thus coloured is clearly distinguished. This character will persist after the first moult and will allow the following year to know that we are dealing with a second year bird. Otherwise, the first weeks, the yellow mouth commissure is well visible.


The House Robin is primarily a forest bird, whether deciduous, evergreen or mixed, which is the optimal environment it frequents on its breeding grounds. But from there, it spills over into other favorable wooded environments such as riparian forests of streams, parks, hedgerows, etc.. In the bad season, it leaves the forest, especially the northern birds that are migratory, to gain more anthropized environments such as gardens in the countryside, but also in the city, the margins of agricultural areas provided with woody, scrubland and scrub in Mediterranean biome, etc. We can almost say that it can be everywhere where there are woody plants in the wintering area.

THREATS – protection

The House Robin is widespread throughout most of its range and not threatened. However, it is well known that in the southern Mediterranean, like many other migratory bird species, the species is heavily harvested by local people for culinary purposes, using nets or other means.

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