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Birds Guide


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European Robin
European Robin
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Erithacus
Cuvier, 1800
E. rubecula
E. akahige
E. komadori

Erithacus is a genus of small passerine birds formerly classed as members of the thrush family, but now considered to be Old World flycatchers.

The three species are:

  • European Robin, Erithacus rubecula
  • Japanese Robin, Erithacus akahige
  • Ryukyu Robin, Erithacus komadori

The two Asian species were formerly considered to be members of the genus Luscinia; apparently, both genera need to be split and rearranged. The European species would then be the only remaining Erithacus, whereas the East Asian species are closely related to some species from the region now classed as Luscinia, for example the Siberian Blue Robin and would form a new genus (Seki, 2006).

The three species are stocky small birds with an upright stance and short frequently cocked tail. They have a plain brown back, and a red or black face and breast contrasting with whitish or grey underparts. The females of the Asian species are much duller than the males, but in the European Robin differences between the sexes are minimal and restricted to the shape of the boundary between the red and brown plumage on the forehead.

Erithacus robins are territorial woodland birds which build a neat cup nest in a hole or on the ground. They watch for insects, worms and other invertebrates from a low perch, and feed mostly on the ground, hopping on strong legs with frequent stops.


  • Seki, Shin-Ichi (2006): The origin of the East Asian Erithacus robin, Erithacus komadori, inferred from cytochrome b sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39(3): 899–905. DOI:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.01.028
  • Svensson, Lars; Zetterström, Dan; Mullarney, Killian & Grant, P. J. (1999): Collins bird guide. Harper & Collins, London. ISBN 0-00-219728-6

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