Pisco-de-peito-ruivo © Diogo Oliveira

European Robin

Erithacus rubecula

On cold winter days a visit to the Garden offers the opportunity to see some birds observable only in this period. Among the novelties, we can highlight Lugers and Thrushes; but other birds are only present during the winter. We have more Eurasian Blackcap, but also a greater number of one of the most fascinating and well-known species in Europe: the European Robin, Erithacus rubecula.

The European Robin is an Eurasian species, with an almost continuous distribution from the Caucasus to the Iberian Peninsula and Scandinavia to Algeria. In Portugal, especially during winter, it is one of the most common birds in several wooded areas, including parks and gardens. Essentially insectivorous during most of the year, the diet of Robins during winter has a high proportion of fruits and berries.
As to its scientific name, Erithacus comes from the Greek erithakos, a bird mentioned by Aristotle and commonly known as robin; rubecula alludes to the color of the pectoral spot, a very characteristic feature of the species.

Since the mid-nineteenth century in the United Kingdom there is a strong association between this species and the celebration of Christmas. Once again we invite you to visit the Garden in search of this nice and curious bird, whether on a lawn, a bush or a stream.

Texto: João E. Rabaça

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