Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)


French: Rougegorge familier German: Rotkehlchen Spanish: Petirrojo europeo

Motacilla Rubecula


, 1758,

Europe = Sweden


Has been suggested that Canary Is race superbus merits treatment as a separate species, with birds on Gran Canaria proposed as a separate race (“marionae”) on grounds of considerable genetic isolation#R#R; this species status, however, is based on very minor levels of differentiation, and taxonomic distinction between the two populations probably not justified without confirmatory differences in morphological characters. Geographical variation extremely slight, with considerable intergradation among W races; valens and caucasicus sometimes merged with hyrcanus. Other described races are armoricanus (described from NW France), sardus (Sardinia) and balcanicus (W Turkey), all synonymized with nominate. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. r. melophilus E. J. O. Hartert, 1901 – British Is; non-breeding also SW Europe.
  • E. r. rubecula (Linnaeus, 1758) – continental Europe E to Ural Mts and W Asia Minor, also islands in E Atlantic (Azores, Madeira, W Canary Is) and NW Morocco; non-breeding W & S Europe and NE Africa.
  • E. r. tataricus Grote, 1928 – Urals and SW Siberia; non-breeding SW Asia.
  • E. r. superbus Koenig, 1889 – C Canary Is (Tenerife, Gran Canaria).
  • E. r. witherbyi E. J. O. Hartert, 1910 – N Algeria and N Tunisia.
  • E. r. valens Portenko, 1954 – S Crimea.
  • E. r. caucasicus Buturlin, 1907 – E Turkey and Caucasus area; non-breeding also Middle East.
  • E. r. hyrcanus Blanford, 1874 – SE Azerbaijan and N Iran; non-breeding also Middle East.
  • Descriptive notes

    14 cm; 14–25 g. Nominate race is olive-brown above, with orange face and breast fringed by band of pale blue-grey on neck side to breast side; buff lower flanks and... read more


    Song, all year, a series of highly variable phrases, each consisting of thin high silvery whistling... read more


    Forest undergrowth and edge, preferring conifer tracts in some parts of range and deciduous... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, fruits and seeds; also very small vertebrates (including fish and lizards), carrion, left-overs and birdtable foods.... read more


    Mainly early Apr to mid-Jun in British Is; end Apr to late Jul in C Europe; from mid-May in N Russia and mid-Apr in S; late Apr to early... read more


    Poorly understood. In general, populations E of line from Norway and Sweden S to C Europe are full... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. European population in mid-1990s judged stable and estimated at 32,387,823–42,974,703 pairs, with estimated additional 10,000,000–100,000... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). European Robin (Erithacus rubecula). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 28 February 2020).