The Robin (Erithacus rubecula) can be seen throughout the year almost anywhere in the UK in gardens, hedgerows, parks and woodlands. It is also known as the Redbreast Robin because it has a red face, neck and chest. Males and females look identical and both have large and prominent black eyes and a short thin black beak. Even though these birds look quite cute they can be very aggressive if their territories are invaded and have no problem at all in driving away intruders.
Robins are not shy and will follow you around in the garden if you are digging up soil because they know they will find worms more easily. And if you happen to have some mealworms they will even eat them out of your hand because these worms are their favourite food. However, Robins usually eat spiders, beetles, flies which they hunt for from a branch perch. They also like eating berries and seeds. Robins hop very quickly on the ground and often flutter their wings and tails giving them the impression that they are nervous, even though they are not really.
Robins can be heard singing sweet melodious songs throughout the year and throughout the day, but often you will hear them the most in the morning when they are singing out loud to mark their territories. They also like singing at night next to street lamps!
On a cold night a Robin likes to keep itself warm by tucking its head under its shoulder feathers and often the Robin will stand on one leg and tuck the other leg under its body to keep itself warm. The feathers on its belly also help to keep its feet warm while it is resting on a perch.
A male Robin also sits on a perch singing songs to attract a female and if the female likes the sound of the songs she will fly in and out of his territory many times to show him that she is a female and that she finds him attractive. Remember Robins look identical and even they have difficulty telling each other apart, and the female doesn’t want to be mistaken for a male because she knows she will be attacked! Once the male realises it is a female he starts to bring her food as a means of courtship and if she is happy with the food and the male she starts to build a nest.
Nests are dome-shaped and made of twigs, leaves, grass and moss and are built low-down in tree stumps, tree roots, gaps in walls and in open-fronted nest boxes. In April, the female usually lays five to seven eggs that are a pale blue colour with reddish spots. Incubation lasts for around two weeks and during this time the male brings the female food. Approximately two weeks after the chicks have hatched they can fly and then they become fully independent about 16-24 days later.