American Robin

Lisa G. Putman

Joined November 2007

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An Ameican Robi preening its feathers on the branch of a Pine Tree. This is a metro Robin living in our apartment complex near Memphis, TN. He seems to enjoy the many tasty worms and grubs in our soil, and seems to lead a happy life in the trees and shrubs near our small man-made lake. I enjoy the songs of the robins each morning and in the late afternoon. This one is usually perched on this branch near my bedroom window.

The American Robin (Turdus migratorius, also called North American Robin is a migratory songbird of the thrush family. It is named after the European Robin because of the male’s bright red breast, though the two species are not closely related. The American Robin is widely distributed throughout North America, wintering south of Canada from Florida to central Mexico and along the Pacific Coast. It is the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan and Wisconsin. It has seven subspecies, but only T. m. confinis in the southwest is particularly distinctive, with pale gray-brown underparts.

The American Robin is active mostly during the day and assembles in large flocks at night. Its diet consists of invertebrates (such as beetle grubs and caterpillars), fruits and berries. It is one of the first bird species to lay eggs, beginning to breed shortly after returning to its summer range from its winter range. Its nest consists of long coarse grass, twigs, paper, and feathers, and is smeared with mud and often cushioned with grass or other soft materials. It is among the first birds to sing at dawn, and its song consists of several discrete units that are repeated.

The adult robin is preyed upon by hawks, cats and larger snakes, but when feeding in flocks it is able to be vigilant and watch other birds for reactions to predators. Brood parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird occurs, but is rare because the robin usually rejects the cowbird eggs.

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