Reddish Vale Country Park

The UK's favourite bird, with its bright red breast it is familiar throughout the year and especially at Christmas!


The Robin is diurnal, although has been reported to be active hunting insects on moonlit nights or near artificial light at night. Well known to British and Irish gardeners, it is relatively unafraid of people and likes to come close when anyone is digging the soil, in order to look out for earthworms and other food freshly turned up. Indeed, the robin is considered to be a gardener's friend and for various folklore reasons the robin would never be harmed. In continental Europe on the other hand, robins were hunted and killed as with most other small birds, and are more wary.


Males and females look identical, and young birds have no red breast and are spotted with golden brown. Robins sing nearly all year round and  despite their cute appearance, they are aggressively territorial and are quick to drive away intruders. They will sing at night next to street lights.


The UK robins are resident all year round and very rarely move far from their territories. Many Scandanavian and German robins migrate to winter here. In continental Europe, the robin is a shy and retiring bird. It is only in the UK where it has lost its inhibitions and take full advantage of people.The robin is closely related to the nightingale.


Because of high mortality in the first year of life, a Robin has an average life expectancy of 1.1 years; however, once past its first year it can expect to live longer and one Robin has been recorded as reaching 12 years of age. A spell of very low temperatures in winter may also result in significant mortality.


Robins may choose a wide variety of sites for building a nest, in fact anything which can offer some form of depression or hole may be considered. As well as the usual crevices, or sheltered banks, odder objects include pieces of machinery, barbecues, bicycle handlebars, bristles on upturned brooms, discarded kettles, watering cans, flower pots and even hats. The nest is composed of moss, leaves and grass, with finer grass, hair and feathers for lining. Two or three clutches of five or six eggs are laid throughout the breeding season, which commences in March in Britain and Ireland. The eggs are a cream, buff or white speckled or blotched with reddish-brown colour, often more heavily so at the larger end. When juvenile birds fly from the nests they are mottled brown in colour all over. After two to three months out of the nest, the juvenile bird grows some orange feathers under its chin and over a similar period this patch gradually extends to complete the adult appearance.


Robins first appeared on Christmas cards as a representation of postmen, who wore red tunics and were known as 'Redbreasts'.The robin was officially adopted as Britain's National bird in 1960.


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Lifespan, up to 12yrs,

Wingspan, 20-22cm,

Weight, 14-21g,

Diet, worms, seeds,

insects, fruit,

4.5 million breeding

territories in UK.