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European Robin – Erithacus rubecula – Pitiross

European Robin – Erithacus rubecula – Pitiross

A bird which can easily be seen during a walk along Chadwick lakes, especially from September to April, is the Robin. The Robin is a common migratory species and some also winters in the Maltese islands, although some do spend the summer, mostly in valleys and near the presence of water.

Robins start leaving the island by late February with migration peeking around March.

It is not difficult to observe a robin on a tree perch, having a good command of its surroundings, while singing its heart out.

During its stay in Malta it is solitary and both male and female birds defend their territory, using their red breasts to intimidate their rivals.

The Robin has a large head and a broad chest, 14 cm long and having a wing span of approximately 22 cm. It only weighs from 16 to 22 g.

When perching and also when on the ground it has an upright stance, a prominent chest sporting a bold head. It can also be observed on the ground moving by short and long hops in quick sucession, flicking its wings and tail as it stops momentarily.

The most striking characteristic of the Robin is its orange-red face, throat and breast, with an olive-brown mantel and a chestnut tail. Its large dark eyes are visible from a distance. Bill and legs are also dark brown. From beneath it is dull white.

The plumage colour of both the male and female are the same.

Small invertebrates make up most of the diet of the robin. During the winter months however, it also takes berries and other fruit.

The robin has been protected since 1911 and it was one of the first birds to be protected in the Maltese Islands.

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