Guide to the

Our Robin bird guide will help you to get to know your red-breasted garden friend better. You can spot Robins all year round, but are a familiar sight in winter and on Christmas cards. It’s impossible to tell the difference between male and female birds as they look identical. Young birds are golden brown in colour with no red breast. Despite their cute appearance, they can be very territorial and aggressive to unwanted intruders. They love eating insects, fruit and seeds.

How to identify Robins?

A small brown bird with a red breast and a white belly. Males and females are similar. Juveniles lack the red breast for their first few months. Instead, their whole plumage is brown and finely spotted.

What do Robins sound like?

Their call is a short, sharp ‘tick’, which is often repeated. The song is a distinctive warble, that can sometimes be heard after dark under street lighting.

What do Robins eat?

Insects, especially small beetles and spiders, but they also take fruit and seeds during the winter.

What predators do Robins have in gardens?

Mainly Sparrowhawks.

How numerous are Robins?

The last population estimate of this species was undertaken in 2016. It showed that there were 6,650,000 pairs in Britain and 7,350,000 in the UK.

How long do Robins live for?

On average, Robins live for around two years. However, the current longevity record for this species is eight years and five months.

When are Robins most frequently seen in gardens?

According to Garden BirdWatch data, which has been collected since 1995, they are most frequently seen during January in around 93% of gardens. On average, the highest monthly maximum count of this species tends to be in February, of around 1.56 birds per garden.

Are Robins increasing or declining in gardens?

Robin numbers in gardens have remained relatively stable since Garden BirdWatch began. However, they are quite susceptible to cold winters, which do tend to have a negative effect on the population.

When do Robins nest?

Robins nest between March and July, and usually have two broods in a year. They typically lay up to five eggs that are incubated for around 14 days. The young tend to fledge after another 14 days.

Do Robins use nest boxes?

Yes, Robins tend to nest in open fronted nest boxes. Size: base 150 x 120mm, front 150 x 100mm. Siting: one to three metres off ground, well hidden by thick vegetation.

What can I do to help Robins in my garden?

Provide food and a fresh, clean supply of water for them. Also, put up nest boxes for them in your garden.

Did you know?

Despite what you may see around the festive season, Robins are not only seen in gardens around Christmas! They are seen in gardens all year round. This species’ association with Christmas is thought to derive from the fact that Postal employees in Victorian times used to wear red uniforms in the winter months so were known as ‘Redbreasts’. They delivered cards around Christmas, so this is what is thought to have brought about this association.


This bird guide has been written in collaboration with experts at the British Trust for Ornithology. To find out more about their vital work, visit: