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Number of species: 80

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American Robin - Turdus migratorius

Although a common species, American Robin can be difficult to age and sex due to a high degree of individual variability.  While extremes are readily identifiable, many individuals are not reliably sexed by plumage, and by spring ageing can also become particularly challenging and should be done only if key features are distinct and consistent

Quick Tips:

  • Look at the greater coverts - on HY/SY birds, the innermost ones are generally longer, while the remainder are retained juvenile feathers and often show buffy-white shaft streaks. However, the absence of such streaks is not a reliable indicator of AHY/ASY, as some HY/SY birds may lack these markings and a few may even have replaced all greater coverts, making the molt limit difficult to spot
  • Examine the tail - HY/SY birds typically have dull and relatively narrow rectrices, while AHY/ASY birds have darker and broader rectrices; the extent of white on the outer rectrices does not seem to be a reliable predictor of age or sex
  • Consider the breast - it is uniformly dark orange on AHY/ASY males, orange with variable amounts of gray mottling on HY/SY males and AHY/ASY females, and pale orange with moderate to considerable mottling on HY/SY females; note also that HY birds of either sex may retain dark breast spots well into fall
  • Look at the crown - it is largely to completely blackish on AHY/ASY males, brown with some black on most HY/SY males and AHY/ASY females, and generally lacking black on HY/SY females"

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory

Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.
Age / Sex  Image sets 
Juvenile / Unknown
Prominent speckling on the head, back, wings, and breast; sexes usually indistinguishable
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Hatch year / Male
Crown dark brown with some black; underparts orange with some pale mottling; molt limit among greater coverts may be visible, often with shaft streaks on outer feathers; rectrices somewhat narrow and tapered
Thumbnail - MG2-2352-01743-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3056.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2352-01743-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3054.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2352-01743-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3055.jpg
Hatch year / Female
Crown brown with little or no black; underparts orange with extensive pale mottling; molt limit among greater coverts may be visible, often with shaft streaks on outer feathers; rectrices somewhat narrow and tapered
Thumbnail - MG2-1342-01200-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3050.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1342-01200-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3048.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1342-01200-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3049.jpg
After hatch year / Male
Crown blackish; underparts rich orange; wing uniformly dark gray; rectrices dark, broad, and rounded
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After hatch year / Female
Crown dark brown to blackish; underparts orange; wing uniformly gray; rectrices dark, broad, and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-1212-21912-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3041.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1212-21912-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3039.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1212-21912-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3040.jpg
Second year / Male
Crown dark brown to blackish; underparts rich orange; molt limit may be visible among greater coverts; rectrices relatively dark, narrow, tapered
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Second year / Female
Crown brown; underparts orange; molt limit may be visible among greater coverts; rectrices brownish and somewhat narrow and tapered
Thumbnail - MG2-1222-70264-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3077.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1222-70264-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3075.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1222-70264-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3076.jpg
After second year / Male
Crown blackish; underparts rich orange; wing uniformly dark gray; rectrices dark, broad, and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-1342-36230-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3071.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1342-36230-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3069.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1342-36230-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3070.jpg
After second year / Female
Crown dark brown to blackish; underparts orange; wing uniformly gray; rectrices dark, broad, and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-1222-70271-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3068.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1222-70271-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3066.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-1222-70271-Turdus_migratorius_AOU_7_52-3067.jpg
Number of species: 80

Select a species: