Britain's official bird is announced

The British public have cast their votes to decide which bird will be crowned Britain’s National Bird, and the winner is... the iconic robin. Plus, discover 15 facts you probably didn't know about the nation's favourite bird.

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Published: June 11th, 2015 at 11:00 am

Since voting for the shortlist for Britain’s National Bird Vote opened on March 16, 224,438 members of the British public have cast their votes to decide which bird will be crowned Britain’s National Bird.


David Lindo, who orchestrated the campaign, announced that the overwhelming winner, with 34% of the votes (75,623) is THE ROBIN.

In second place was the Barn Own with 12% of the votes (24,870), narrowly beating the Blackbird (23,369), which came third with 11% of the votes.

Bird Percentage of votes Total votes

Robin 34% 75,623

Barn Own 12% 26,191

Blackbird 11% 25,369

Wren 9% 19,609

Red Kite 6% 14,057

Children’s Vote

11,270 of the votes were placed by children in a ballot in British schools. The children’s vote had surprisingly different results: 20% of school children voted for the Robin, with the Puffin coming second with 14% of the vote and the Blue Tit coming third with 13% of the votes.


- Young Robins have a brown rather than red breast; they grow the red feathers after their first moult.

- British Robins seldom move far from where they hatched, but many Finnish and Swedish Robins migrate to the Mediterranean for the winter.

- At the end of the Victorian era Robin skins became popular adornments for ladies’ hats.

- Until the early years of the 20th century the Robin was usually known as the redbreast.

- The first British postmen wore red coats, and gained the nickname of Robin or redbreast.

- Ringing recoveries of British-ringed Robins have shown that the most frequent cause of death is being killed by a cat.

- Many attempts have been made to introduce Robins to America, Australia and New Zealand. All have failed.

- Baby Robins are helpless at birth but reach the size of their parents after just two weeks.

- The robin may be feeling a sense of deja-vu - it was also declared Britain’s National Bird on December 15th, 1960.

- British robins will not enter standard nest boxes with round entrance holes, but they do like open-fronted boxes.

- The robin is a member of the thrush family, so is related to the blackbird and the nightingale.

- Robins are highly territorial and have been know to fight till death over territory.

- Mealworms are the bird's favourite food.

- Each robin has a unique breast pattern, which means they can be identified as individuals.


- Robins are omnivorous, eating everything from fruit to spiders.


Sian Lewis is an award-winning outdoors and travel writer and blogger who focuses on sharing beginner-friendly adventures in the wildest corners of Britain.


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