he robin is officially Britain’s most popular bird and last year the robin was voted the UK’s national bird.
Over 224,000 people took part in the poll, with 34% of the votes being given to the red-breasted robin, ahead of the barn owl which received 12% and the blackbird with 11%. The votes were made online, in school ballot boxes and by post.
The British Robin now takes its place amongst other national birds such as the American Bald Eagle, the Indian Peacock, the French Cockerel and the Swedish Blackbird.
According to the RSPB, there are more than six million breeding pairs of robins in the UK. In the summer mating pairs would jointly defend their territory between them, whilst in winter robins hold individual winter territories.
The red-breast of the robin is not used for courtship but in territory defence. The red patch triggers aggressive territorial behaviour with robins known to attack stuffed robins or red feather tufts.
Robins are one of the few birds in the UK that sing throughout the year and have been heard singing at night next to street lights.
Like other wild birds, robins and their nests are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This makes it an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird.
Robin is also used as a first name for people. The legendary Robin Hood, the footballer Robin van Persie and actor Robin Williams are examples, not forgetting Batman’s colleague. Fans of the television series The Mentalist will recognise the role of Theresa Lisbon, played by American actress Robin Jessica Tunney. She has also acted roles in films such as The Craft, Supernova and Vertical Limit.
The name ‘Robins’ is also used as a football club nickname, based on the colour of the home kit, for example, Bristol City.
The Reliant Robin is also recognised as the name of an iconic car. The television comedy series Only Fools and Horses included the famous yellow motor labelled ‘Trotters Independent Trading Co’, which inspired many people to paint their own Reliant Robins to match. The model used in Only Fools and Horses, however, was actually a Reliant Regal Supervan III.