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Robin: Everything about nest, food & special features

What do robins eat and when do they breed? How do you distinguish the males from the females of the robins? You can find all the answers to these and other questions about domestic birds in our robin profile.

While other birds fly up and away at the slightest movement, the robin (Erithacus rubecula) fearlessness in person. It is not uncommon for the small songbirds to be approached within a few meters. Due to their rust-red throat patch, they are unmistakable and very common to observe in home gardens. In winter, the already plump birds often fluff their plumage to form an insulating layer against the cold - which makes them look a bit like a small shuttlecock.


Wanted poster of the robin

sizeAbout 14 cm
WeightAbout 20 g
Breeding seasonMarch - July
lifespanAbout 3 - 5 years
habitatForests, parks and gardens
Feed preferenceInsects living in the ground and their larvae, berries, fruits
ThreatsNest robbers, food shortages in winter

This is how you recognize the robin

The robin is a rather small songbird with a rounded stature. The back and elytra are colored olive brown; the belly is significantly lighter and more grayish-white. The breast, on which the robin's name is derived, is rust-red in color. The bright color extends over the beak to the eyes. Because of this noticeable feature, the robin can be identified very clearly. Another special feature are the conspicuously large black eyes, which ensure sufficient incidence of light at dusk.

What does the robin singing sound like?

The robin's song begins with some high, clear notes and then falls into a faster, chirping verse that has a somewhat melancholy sound. Also very characteristic are the calls that usually sound in the twilight, like a fast ticking clock: "Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick".

The robin's song sounds like this:

How do you recognize the young birds?

Young robins are by no means as conspicuous as their parents, as they do not yet have a rust-red throat spot. Their brown plumage is streaked with golden yellow and only the light belly is reminiscent of the adult robin.

How do you recognize the robin's eggs?

The robin produces between four and seven eggs per clutch. These are about two centimeters in size, have a whitish-yellow basic color and are covered with reddish-brown spots.

How do male and female robins differ?

At first glance, female robins do not differ from males. One of the distinguishing features is the gray border around the red breast, which is wider in males than in females. However, this characteristic also changes with the age of the animals and is therefore difficult to assess for the inexperienced eye. Since females only rarely sing, it is very likely that the singing-happy specimens can be identified as males - at least during the breeding season.

What does the perfect habitat for robins look like?

Robins prefer breeding areas near water, naturally in deciduous, mixed or coniferous forests, but also in man-made landscapes such as parks and gardens. Since they mainly look for food in the soil, some areas with little undergrowth are beneficial.

Where do they build their nest?

Robins build their nests near the ground. In the forest they use the undergrowth and natural cavities, in cultivated landscapes hedges, brushwood piles or piles of wood. The bowl-shaped nest is made from moss and grass and padded with animal hair or feathers.

When is robin breeding season?

European robins breed from March to July. Up to three broods are possible during this time. The female incubates the eggs for about 14 days and is supplied with food by the male during this time. After hatching, the young are cared for in the nest for a further 14 days. In the course of this time they are very susceptible to nest predators such as cats, martens or magpies due to the nest close to the ground. Because of this high mortality, the parents often start building the next nest before the first brood is completely independent.

Where do robins spend the winter?

Our domestic robins also spend the cold season in their breeding area. The males defend their territories all year round, which is why you can still hear them singing in the late year. A special feature of the robin is that in winter the females also partially occupy territories that provide them with food in the barren times. Then in spring they return to their partners from last year.

Support robins: this is how it works

Even though robins are often found in home gardens, there are a number of ways to make it easier for them to settle. Garden birds often need additional support, especially in winter, because the natural food supply is often insufficient.

Food for robins

Robins prefer to look for small insects and their larvae in the ground. But they also use berries and fruits. Soft feed in the form of oat flakes, raisins and apples can be offered as additional feed. Our Plantura year-round bird food is also great for robins. The colorfully mixed birdseed contains many valuable ingredients, which thanks to their beak-sized size and an extra load of protein not only help the birds through the winter, but also support the expectant bird parents during the breeding season.

Plantura year-round feed for wild birds

Which nest boxes are suitable for robins?

As an artificial nesting facility, half-cave boxes are well suited for robins. Instead of a round entrance hole, these have a larger opening that should be ten centimeters high for robins. Graycatchers, white wagtail and wren are also happy about these nesting aids. You can find further tips on the material, the dimensions and the correct cleaning in our article "Build your own nest box".

How can you give robins additional support?

Since robins prefer to search for insects in the ground, a healthy bottom fauna is essential for them. Our Plantura organic soil activator helps you to improve the life of the soil in a targeted manner and, thanks to its mainly organic components, has a sustainable and environmentally friendly long-term effect.

Robins are real water lovers. They are therefore often found near bodies of water and in wetter areas. If you don't want to create a stream right away, you can also use a simple bird bath, in which robins like to splash around extensively.

Tip:A bird bath also acts as a bird bath at the same time. All other garden birds, for example blackbird or great tit, are happy about this, especially in hot temperatures.

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I am particularly interested in animal garden visitors and have therefore done my master's degree with a focus on "animal ecology". I am convinced that beneficial animals are a sustainable and effective alternative to many conventional products. I am also a passionate hobby ornithologist and seldom go for a walk without my binoculars.
Favorite fruits: kiwi, apple and red currant
Favorite vegetables: tomatoes and green beans