Chipper Woods Bird Observatory
Web sponsorship and design courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc.

Bird Photos
    Species Accounts
    Conservation Issues
Visitor Photos
What's In The News?
Just for Kids
Bird Problems?
    Indiana Birds
    Indiana Mammals
    Indiana Reptiles
    Indiana Amphibians


American Robin

(Turdus migratorius)
Banded April 6, 1998 - Carmel, Indiana

General Information

The American Robin, the largest of the North American thrushes, is found over most of North America in the summer months. Its familiar song, cheer-up, cheer cheer cheer-up , begins well before daybreak and in many regions signals the start of spring. It is notorious for its ability to find, catch and eat earthworms. Contrary to popular wisdom, earthworms are found by sight rather than by sound. Diet also consists of beetles, grasshoppers, other insects, and many fruits including grapes, cherries, pokeberries, and mistletoe, and in southern states, the fruits of the Sabal Palm.


Adults are gray or blackish above and brick red below. A white patch occurs in the vent area. Females are generally duller with a more grayish head.

American Robin
Figure 1 - American Robin


 American Robin
Figure 2 - American Robin


The head is darker in males, and more grayish in females. The bill is yellow. A partial white eye ring is also visible.

The female robin builds a cup nest of mud, sticks and grasses in a protected area on a firm support.

American Robin Nest
Figure 3 - American Robin Nest


Robin Eggs
Figure 4 - Robin Eggs


From 3 to 5 smooth, glossy blue eggs are incubated by the female and hatch in about two weeks.

Young are born naked and blind. They are tended by both parents, and leave the nest in about 14 to 16 days. It takes about a month for the young birds to learn to feed themselves.

Robin Chicks
Figure 5 - Robin Chicks


Flank and Belly
Figure 6 - Flank and Belly


The underside of the adult bird is brick red. Young birds are more mottled. The red color elicits a strong aggressive response during the breeding season. Many robins will spend hours and days attacking their reflection in a window or a shiny surface on a car.

Primary flight feathers are grayish. Wingspan is 14 to 16 inches.

Primary Flight Feathers
Figure 7 - Primary Flight Feathers


 Tail Feathers
Figure 8 - Tail Feathers


The tail feathers are blackish and show a white spot on each outer tail feather.

Banding Recoveries

The Bird Banding Lab web site reports that between 1955 and 1997, a total of 432,185 American Robins were banded. Of these, 14,322 have been recovered, a recovery rate of 3.31%. Banding studies show that robins are short distance migrants that can live up to 11 or more years in the wild. Albino birds commonly occur. If you should recover a banded bird, please report the band number to the Bird Banding Lab by calling 1-800-327-BAND.

Conservation Status

American Robins perform an important role in consuming large numbers of destructive insect pests. Their taste for many kinds of fruits and berries also aids those plants in seed dispersal when seeds pass through the digestive system and are deposited in areas distant from the host plant. Robins are uncommon cowbird hosts, and doing well in most of their range. In some regions in the northeast and the west, however, population declines are being observed.

Back to Top | Back to Bird Photos Menu

All images are courtesy of CWBO. All image copyrights are owned by CWBO. Any use of these images must have permission of CWBO.

Home | Espaņol | Where We Are | Contact Us
Copyright 1997-2009 Chipper Woods Bird Observatory, Inc. All Rights Reserved