The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is a migratory songbird of the thrush family. It is named after the European Robin because of its reddish-orange breast, though the two species are not closely related, with the European Robin belonging to the Old World flycatcher family. The American Robin is widely distributed throughout North America, wintering from southern Canada to central Mexico and along the Pacific Coast. It is the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin. According to some sources, the American Robin ranks behind only the Red-Winged Blackbird (and just ahead of the introduced European Starling and the not-always-naturally-occurring House Finch) as the most abundant extant land bird in North America. It has seven subspecies, but only T. m. Confinis of Baja California Sur is particularly distinctive, with pale gray-brown underparts.[Wikipedia]
The quintessential early bird, American Robins are common sights on lawns across North America, where you often see them tugging earthworms out of the ground. Robins are popular birds for their warm orange breast, cheery song, and early appearance at the end of winter. Though they’re familiar town and city birds, American Robins are at home in wilder areas, too, including mountain forests and Alaskan wilderness. [All About Birds]
- The American Robin is a known reservoir (carrier) for West Nile Virus. While crows and jays are often the first noticed deaths in an area with West Nile Virus, the American Robin is suspected to be a key host and holds a larger responsibility for the transmission of the virus to humans. This is because, while crows and jays die quickly from the virus, the American Robin survives the virus longer, hence spreading it to more mosquitoes, which then transmit the virus to humans and other species.
- An American Robin can produce three successful broods in one year. On average, though, only 40 percent of nests successfully produce young. Only 25 percent of those fledged young survive to November. From that point on, about half of the robins alive in any year will make it to the next. Despite the fact that a lucky Robin can live to be 14 years old, the entire population turns over on average every six years.
- Robins eat different types of food depending on the time of day: more earthworms in the morning and more fruit later in the day. Because the robin forages largely on lawns, it is vulnerable to pesticide poisoning and can be an important indicator of chemical pollution.
- The oldest recorded American Robin was 13 years and 11 months old.