British wildlife recordings
Erithacus rubecula : Robin - Turdidae
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Old Dean Common, Camberley, Surrey: OS Grid Reference(488500,160500)
Williams, Aubrey John
Robin, Erithacus rubecula
Song of a robin recorded on Old Dean Common, Surrey. The robin is without doubt the most well-loved and best-known British bird. It is also one of the most widespread birds, being found in most gardens during the winter although somewhat scarcer during the breeding season. In Britain, it is very confiding and will often associate with gardeners digging the soil in order to take advantage of worms, or beetle larvae that become unearthed. Both male and female have identical plumage and can only be identified by their behaviour. The male is an extremely pugnacious and territorial little bird. It rarely moves more than 5 km from its birth site and will try to maintain a territory throughout the year, defending it very aggressively from interlopers. This explains why the male robin sings almost throughout the year. Its song however, varies much in composition during the course of the year and is at its strongest and most powerful from around Christmas when breeding territories become established. Disturbed robins also produce an urgent ?tic? as an alarm call. In good years, robins may produce three broods and this fecundity helps counter the severe winters which can cause very high mortality. There are 4,500,000 territories in Britain and the population is thought to be relatively stable.