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Archive - April 2018

American robin Turdus migratorius

What is an American robin?
An American robin is a bird. Birds have feathers. Their bones are hollow and light. They lay hard-shelled eggs. The hard shell keeps the developing young bird moist and allows the parents to sit on the eggs to incubate them. Birds are warm-blooded animals, meaning that they can keep their body temperature constant while being active in a variety of outdoor conditions.

What Does It Look Like? 
The American robin has dark-gray back feathers and orange-red breast feathers. The male has black feathers on the head and tail. The head and tail feathers of the female are lighter than those of the male. A white area can be seen on each outer edge of the tail and on the lower belly when the bird flies.

Young robins have spotted breast feathers with a light orange-red background.

How Big Is It?
This species is about nine to 11 inches long.

Where Does It Live?
The American robin is a common migrant and summer resident statewide in Illinois. It lives in urban areas, woodlands, orchards, parks and other open places. Some robins overwinter in Illinois, although most of them migrate farther south in the United States or to Mexico.

How Does It Reproduce?
Nesting occurs from April to July, with two or three broods raised per year. The nest is a cup made of dried mud and plant materials. It is lined with grasses. A new nest is built for each clutch of eggs. The female lays three to seven eggs per clutch. The eggshell is blue. Incubation lasts 12 to 14 days. Only the female incubates the eggs.

What Does It Eat?
The American robin eats earthworms, insects, insect larvae, snails and fruits.

Does Anything Eat It?
Eggs and young of the American robin are eaten by many species including squirrels, snakes, blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata), common grackles (Quiscalas quiscula) and American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos). Adult robins may be taken as prey by hawks, domestic cats (Felis catus) and large snakes.

What Else Should I Know About It?
The American robin walks or runs when it is moving on the ground.

It produces several calls. The song is a loud, caroling noise.

Robins hunt worms by standing still and cocking the head to one side. They feed more on earthworms in the morning and fruits later in the day. Robins gather in flocks in fall and eat fruits in wooded areas.

Nests may be placed in trees, gutters, eaves, stop lights and other structures. Robins will nest on humanmade nesting platforms, too.

Males attract females for mating by singing, spreading the tail, shaking the wings and inflating the throat.

Can I Hunt It?
The American robin is not a game species. It cannot be legally hunted.

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