The European robin must be our most friendly bird in the UK. This one, in Devon recently, was just sitting around inquisitively, fearlessly waiting to be photographed.
The colours look very fresh, so this is probably this season’s bird, but must be a few months old (see eg post on Robin juvenile.)
Of course, this bird was traditionally called ‘robin redbreast’. Why? Because the colour orange was only recognised as distinct from red from the 16th century, when the orange fruit had been introduced. That’s what Wikipedia says…
At RSPB Leighton Moss I was quite taken by this little bird that provocatively paraded on the footpath before me – clearly an innocent youngster, without fear. It looked vaguely familiar, but the markings suggested something a bit like a dunnock or a yellowy starling.
When I showed the picture to she who knows much more about birds than I do, she immediately identified it as a juvenile robin (European Robin, of course). Yes, it clearly is, when you look at that familiar slant of the beak.
And I always thought robins have red breasts. According to Wikipedia, the orange feathers begin to appear at around 2-3 months old, and the orange/red breast is complete in around twice that time.
One of Britain’s most common birds is the robin, also known as the European Robin to distinguish it from other so-called robins that I have photographed: American Robin, Clay Colored Robin, which are really thrushes. There’s usually one turns up when I’m gardening, seeking out the worms and bugs that get disturbed in the process.
The robin is so common in the UK that I never get around to taking a photograph. Luckily this one obligingly sat on a post at Brereton Country Park when I had camera in pocket, and stayed just long enough for a couple of photos. In the featured one above he is looking straight at me, a second later he was off. The earlier photo below catches a glint in his eye.
Interestingly, Wikipedia reports that
The distinctive orange breast of both sexes contributed to the European robin’s original name of redbreast (orange as the name of a colour was unknown in English until the sixteenth century, by which time the fruit of that name had been introduced).