Robin, Erithacus rubecula

Other Names:
Redbreast, cock Robin also called Bob (Nottinghamshire) and Bobby (Somerset). The Anglo-Saxons called the Robin the Rudduc for the redness of the breast, still used today in the North as Ruddock and Dorset as Reddock.
Habitat: Ground with undergrowth in woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens.
Distribution: Worldwide: Across western Europe throughout the year, summer visitor to eastern and northern Europe.
UK: Resident. with additional migrant birds in winter
Numbers: Worldwide:
U.K. : 6.7 million territories
Food: Insects, mealworms and suet fat balls are fed by man.
Breeding: 5 – 6 white eggs with brown speckles in a nest hidden in bushes or in an open- fronted nest box.
Bill: Small thin Insect bill
Length: 14 cm.


A High, warbling song with trembling notes and trills. If you hear a rather sad bird song in the winter then it will be a Robin. This wistful little tune is one of the joys of a winter walk. The now regular name Robin was only formally accepted as late as the 1950’s. Wordsworth mentions the bird in many of his poems, always calling it the Redbreast. Cock Robin is probably the most common name coming into use about 1700 as an expression for a “soft, easy fellow”. Tradition also records the Robin as the male bird with the Wren being his wife. The Christmas association with Robins may come from the uniform of the first postmen. They wore a bright vermilion waistcoat and were known as “robins” and so Robins are often featured on Christmas cards with a letter in their beaks. However, watch “your” Robin at the bird feeder and you will see how they bully other birds. Even the redoubtable Greenfinch will give way to the bossy redbreast! And “your” Robin is often a different bird in the summer from the one in the winter. They do migrate southwards so your winter bird will probably be from further north, possibly from Scandinavia.
A simular bird that is rare but shows up most years in Britain is the Red Breasted Flycatcher follow this link to see some photographs of a male that turned up in Oct 2014 near Beachy Head in Sussex.

Robin Painting Goebel, Robin Robin,
Christmas Card image
Goldfinch paintinmg by Alan M Hunt Goebel Robin figurine A Robin Redbreast Painting of Robin on Watercan
Alan M Hunt
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by Paul Cumberland
Mary Want
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