Robin, Erithacus rubecula, perched on lichen covered branch in garden. Co. Durham


The robin is one of the few birds that hold a territory all year round.

Protecting their boundaries

In summer a robins' territory is defended by a mated pair, while each bird holds individual winter territories. 

Breeding territories average 0.55 ha in size, while winter territories are around half of this. The exact size depends on the quality of habitat and the density of birds in the area.

In some areas (such as Scottish pinewoods with well-spaced, mature trees and few shrubs), breeding densities can be as low as 10 pairs per sq km, while a lowland woodland can support as many as 200-300 pairs per sq km. 

Territory boundaries are fluid, and change frequently as circumstances change.

The sole purpose of a robin's red breast is in territory defence: it is not used in courtship. A patch of red triggers territorial behaviour, and robins are known to persistently attack stuffed robins and even tufts of red feathers.

Robin with a mealworm perched on a garden fork handle