Turdus Migratorius - American Robin | Northwest Harbor, New York

© Sophie W. Smith

Joined October 2012

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Artist's Description

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Turdidae
Genus: Turdus
Species: T. migratorius
Binomial name
Turdus migratorius

This bird breeds throughout most of North America, from Alaska and Canada southward to northern Florida and Mexico. While robins occasionally overwinter in the northern part of the United States and southern Canada, most migrate to winter south of Canada from Florida and the Gulf Coast to central Mexico, as well as along the Pacific Coast. Most depart south by the end of August and begin to return north in February and March (exact dates vary with latitude and climate). Despite being depicted in the film Mary Poppins “feathering its nest” in London, this species is actually a rare vagrant to western Europe, where the majority of records, more than 20, have been in Britain. In autumn 2003, migration was displaced eastwards leading to massive movements through the eastern U.S., and presumably this is what led to no fewer than three American robins being found in Britain, with two attempting to overwinter in 2003–2004, although one was taken by a sparrowhawk. The most recent sighting in Britain occurred in January 2007.

This species has also occurred as a vagrant to Greenland, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and Belize. Vagrants to Europe, where identified to subspecies, are nominate T. m. migratorius, but the Greenland birds also included T. m. nigrideus, and some of the southern overshots may have been T. m. achrusterus.

The American robin’s breeding habitat is woodland and more open farmland and urban areas. It becomes less common as a breeder in the southernmost part of the Deep South of the United States, and there prefers large shade trees on lawns. Its winter habitat is similar but includes more open areas. Read more

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