Robin ©Neil Aldridge

Immature robin

©Mark Hamblin/2020VISION


©Mark Hamblin/2020VISION


Scientific name: Erithacus rubecula
The much-loved robin is a garden favourite and one of our most familiar birds, adorning Christmas cards every year. It is very territorial, however, and will defend its post with surprising ferocity.

Species information


Length: 14cm
Wingspan: 21cm
Weight: 18g
Average lifespan: 2 years

Conservation status

Common. Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2021).

When to see

January to December


The robin is one of the most familiar birds of the UK, regularly visiting gardens. Robins are also common in parks, scrub and woodland, making their presence known with a loud, territorial song. They sing from prominent perches right through the winter, when both males and females hold territories; indeed, they are fiercely territorial, driving off intruders and even fighting. During the breeding season, the female is allowed into the male's territory where she sets up a nest of dead leaves, moss and hair. Nests often crop up in the oddest of places, such as plant pots, old wellies and shelves, but Ivy and other shrubs are their natural choice.

How to identify

The robin really is unmistakeable: brown above, with a white belly and a famously red breast. Young robins are mottled gold and brown, and do not have a red breast.



Did you know?

Robins have been associated with Christmas ever since Victorian times; Victorian postmen, who were known as 'robin red-breasts' because of their red waistcoats, are thought to be the inspiration for so many robins appearing on our Christmas cards. Whether it's the case or not, robins certainly make themselves known in winter with their loud, aggressive song!


Robin ©John Bridges