What Do Robins Eat? Foods That You Should Feed Them

Sridevi Tolety
Feb 01, 2023 By Sridevi Tolety
Originally Published on Oct 27, 2021
Fact-checked by Pratiti Nath
 Singing Robin on a Branch

Robin species are true thrushes of the family, Turdidae.

Robin species are mainly endemic to Asia, Africa, and Europe; these robins are migratory. Additionally, the American robin is a songbird of North America, Mexico, and Canada.

Robins are spread over every state except in Alaska, in the United States. With such vast distribution, they are adapted to coexist with humans. Robins eat both fruits and animals, meaning that they are omnivorous.

Based on the season and availability, they adapt their diet. They forage during the day because they are dependent on their eyesight for prey. They are optimal feeders and eat what is available during different seasons.

Robins are thrushes with a bright red chest. They have spotted chests with medium-sized bodies. Every continent has its own unique robin.

American robins have orange or fox red chests with gray-brown underparts. They have slender bodies of 9-11 in (22 .86- 27.94 cm) in length.

They reside on woodlands and open farmland habitats. The European robin is similar but smaller than the American robin, which is 5.5 in (13.97 cm) in length. It is closely related to chat-thrushes.

Their slender body is elevated by an orange chest and a brown head. Local to the United Kingdom and Europe, they spread to Asia and North Africa. The rufous-collared robin is a unique robin with bright rufous pigmentation all over the breast and neck.

They have a blackish head and are endemic to Middle American highlands and forest habitats of Mexico and South America. Its eating habits are related to the American robin.

The Indian robin is black or brown with orange under the tail and white shoulder stripes. They are spread over Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. These robins species are also opportunistic eaters.

Robins are omnivorous. They love to dwell on the ground for worms and insects.

But during the winter, in the absence of these worms, they forage on a range of plants, fruits, seeds, nuts, raisins, and berries. American robins visit bird feeders, particularly in winter, for suet, to increase their extra calories and fat. It also helps them to regulate body heat.

If you found our content engaging, we suggest our content of fun facts articles on what do frogs eat? And what do iguanas eat? 

What fruit do robins eat?

If you want to serve a guest at your garden or back yard, here is a brief outlook on their menu for bird feeders or garden feeders to attract robins. Robins love not only food from plants but also love insects and worms.

The robin is a ground-dwelling eater and eats extracts like plant fruit from trees.

Because robins are ground feeders, a ground tray with a mixture of things from their natural meals is optimal to attract these birds. A range from mealworms to raisins, fruit seeds to sunflower hearts, as well as peanuts and suet as well.

Robins also love mealworms, which can help increase moisture.

However, if you do feed robins, it is best to feed them with soaked mealworms to help hydrate them. A notch higher is to attract wild robins by feeding them on a bird table, providing them with a great place to enjoy their meal.

Bird tables that are covered are even more optimal because they help protect a robin’s food and hide them from predators. Food bars or bird cake is also a nice meal for these birds. But be aware that it should be taken care that the food does not get damp, which can cause it to accumulate bacteria and mold.

Robins are not interested in eating from a hanging feeder and entertains flocking in the garden like the sparrows or blue tits and goldfinches, who prefer to perch while eating. So trays and a bird table feeding are ideal for the robins.

To survive, robins need to dwell and keep themselves warm to survive. They need a constant intake of fats in the winter. Fruit is an excellent source of fat for these birds who are constantly migrating.

So they prey on berries, fruits, and worms. However, the protein they obtain from insects and worms is more important to their survival.

When given a chance, these avians prefer worms over fruits on any given day. On a single day alone, robins can consume a 14 in (35.56 cm) meal of worms. This indirectly indicates that these birds require a minimum of 12 worms in their diet per day, which enables robins to quickly absorb the protein in them.

Here are a few tips for feeding robins. It is a good idea to provide fresh water to robins or other birds. It is essential to never to offer these birds milk.

Milk will make birds sick after consuming it. Also, it is best not to offer bread to these birds since it does not contain any nutrients required by the bird. In winters, these birds need quality food to keep them going, improve their energy, and stay warm.

Mealworms that come prepared in dried form are the best option to offer to Mr. Robin. Serve this little guest on a bird table with mealworms and they will be thrilled!

Mealworms are rich in nutrients, fat, protein, and fiber. This provides the bird with the capacity to withstand the cold winters.

If you are going to feed mealworms, before feeding them make sure to soak them in some water. Crushed sunflower heart pieces are also an excellent option for robins and are available year-round.

Sunflowers are devoid of healthy fat to support the winter season, but provide protein, which is essential during the mating season. These seeds are also rich in iron, fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, B-6, and C. Sunflower hearts can be mixed with foods like fruits, mealworms, other fats, and seeds on the bird table.

Another such option is nyjer seeds, which are nutty and contain antioxidants, oleic acid, and niacin. These seeds are also rich in fat.

Apple, which has a lot of natural moisture, is a source of vitamin C and sugar, and fiber, which can be peeled and sliced. Raisins are part of foods that are a rich source of protein, calcium, potassium, fiber, and vitamins, and also aids metabolism.

But if given, soak raisins in water during summer to serve the raisins optimally and hydrated. They are also a filling food to robins.

Crushed and peeled peanuts are a great treat to robins and are also ideal for an avian diet. Peanuts provide the bird with fiber and have natural potassium, iron, protein, magnesium, calcium, and fat.

Maize, which serves as carbohydrates for these birds, is aplenty in potassium, iron, sugar, and fiber. Cooked maize is also a natural source of moisture for them and less expensive food.

Oatmeal can also be included in the diet of a robin, but excess can cause issues due to its high concentration of iron. Similarly, if given potatoes, they must be served cooked.

However, dairy products or milk do not offer anything to birds; grated cheese can be fed to birds in limited quantities, which have a high amount of fortifying calcium, cobalamin, protein, sodium, and potassium. Garden feeders can also consider feeding robins with vine fruits like grapes, both domesticated and wild.

What do baby robins eat?

Baby robins are tender, and a robin feeder has to take care while feeding food to them. Baby robins are defenseless and dependent on their parents, thus are altricial birds. It takes near to two weeks for these chicklings to leave their nest. Meaning that most of their nutritional needs are fulfilled by parents until maturation.

The parent robin breaks the food into pieces and gives partially digested food. Adult robins will regurgitate the partly digested food and place it into their baby's mouth.

They are fed with broken young earthworms. And once these young robins are potent enough to swallow whole food, the older ones feed them with the whole worms and insects. A robin's parents are dedicated to raising their fledglings, often visiting their nest 100 times a day.

What do robins eat in the winter?

Robins have unique survival techniques for winter. As per the regular trend of flying south during winter, in contrast to this, these birds tend to keep moving in search of food instead of migrating long distances.

There is less option for dwelling insects and earthworms during winter months, so robins generally feed on fruits, berries, nuts, and raisins.

Robins are much more territorially in warmer months, but on the contrary, in the winter, they constantly switch from trees and plant bushes in search of food since their diet is crucial for them to survive harsh snows and winters.

In winters, when water freezes, it is optimal to serve food to these birds with a bowl of freshwater set aside.

At the beginning of the winter months, these picky eaters choose the fruit they like, but towards the peaks of winter, they have to survive with whatever food sources are available.

During colder months, you might think you see a different bird due to the absence of a slender body, when in fact, that's your robin friend. Interestingly, they have shoes of the harsh snow on their feet.

This trait is required for them to survive temperatures below zero degrees, blizzards, and snowstorms. To escape cold weather, robins migrate in the autumn or spring, and few stay behind. Moving in large flocks also helps these birds stay warm.

This behavior is observed in penguins as well. Body heat is required for these animals to survive, and the already puffed-up feathers of robins help them to keep warm.

What to feed robins in the snow?

So how would the survival of the fittest robin eat in the snow? Keep reading to learn more about what to feed robins in the snow!

Many bird species that visit backyards in snowy weather thrive on seeds because it is hard to find plant foods, fruits, or worms in the snowy, wintery weather.

Winter foods that provide nutrition for birds include hulled peanuts or peanut hearts, suet mixes with seeds or fruit, peanut butter, black oil sunflower seed, white millet seed, and nyjer (thistle) seed.

The bird feeds in winter should be rich in fat or oil content. This provides abundant nutritional energy for birds to survive in winter.

The robin is a phenomenal bird with a perky breast. These birds adapt to different habitats and are typically picky eaters with unique choices and attitudes.

They’ll even choose to prey on frogs or lizards at times. The robin is seen as a national bird in Great Britain and the state bird of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Connecticut. They bring joy to your garden or backyard and are thought to be a sign of contentment and new beginnings.

By now, you know what a robin eats, so prepare a tray to attract your evening guest!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what do robins eat? Then why not take a look atwhat do insects eat? OrJapanese robin facts.

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Written by Sridevi Tolety

Bachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

Sridevi Tolety picture

Sridevi ToletyBachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.

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Fact-checked by Pratiti Nath

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology, Masters of Science specializing in Biotechnology

Pratiti Nath picture

Pratiti NathBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology, Masters of Science specializing in Biotechnology

A Master's in Biotechnology from Presidency University and a Bachelor's in Microbiology from Calcutta University. Pratiti holds expertise in writing science and healthcare articles, and their inputs and feedback help writers create insightful content. They have interests in heritage, history, and climate change issues and have written articles for various websites across multiple subjects. Their experience also includes working with eco-friendly startups and climate-related NGOs.

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