I find robins to be fascinating birds. They were some of the first birds I learned how to identify because they were so common in our neighborhood parks and my backyard. They easily came to our feeders, and I got to identify them by their cherry songs.
Robins are also easy to identify because they have a particularly obvious red breast. However, quite a few birds look like robins and can confuse even the most avid bird watcher. Below are ten birds that look very similar to a robin.
Birds That Look Like Robins
- Spotted Towhee
The spotted towhee belongs to the new world sparrows family. Remember that sparrows are classified into old-world and new-world sparrows? The spotted towhee falls into the new world sparrow category. They weigh about 33-49 grams and have a wingspan of about 11 inches.
The spotted towhee displays sexual dimorphism. This means that the male and female of the towhee don’t share the same appearance. The upper body of the male spotted towhee is black. The black color extends to their head, and they spot white undersides.
On the other hand, the female spotted towhee is gray from its upper body to its head. They have the white undersides of the male.
- Orchard Oriole
The orchard oriole is another bird that shares a similar resemblance with a robin. They are the smallest member of the itecerid family, weighing 16-28 grams. When winter comes around, the orchard oriole will move to the coastal lowlands of South America.
The male orchard oriole has a black head, wings, and tail. Their underparts are the color of a chestnut. The female orchard oriole has an olive green head and back. Thanks to the overall black and chestnut coloration of the orchard, they are easily confused for robins.
- Baltimore Oriole
The third robin look-alike on our list is the Baltimore oriole. These tiny birds weigh 33-40 grams and have a 23-32 centimeters wingspan. They have a lifespan of 11-14 years and are the state bird of Maryland, USA. The Baltimore oriole is a migratory bird, and they are commonly found in the eastern regions of North America.
The Baltimore oriole has a very bright coloration, making it easy to spot in open woodlands and on the edges of forests. The male adult Baltimore oriole has a black face, head, wing, and tail. Their underparts have a stunning yellow-orange color.
The face of the female is a dull yellow shade. They have olive-brown wings and tails. Their rump is white.
- American Redstart
The American redstart belongs to the new world warbler family. They weigh about 6.9-8.6 grams, and their wingspan is 16-23 centimeters. The American redstart breeds in the woodlands of North America, and they like to live in areas with water sources.
The head of the American redstart is black along with their back and chest. They have specks of orange along their black tail and wings. They have orange chest flanks, and their undersides are white. The American redstart has short legs which look like the legs of robins, and they have a black head and eye, which is also similar to that of a robin.
- Black-Headed Grosbeak
If you live in Central America, you may occasionally spot the black-headed grosbeak as a vagrant species. They can also be found in Southwestern British Columbia and Central Mexico.
The head of the male black-headed grosbeak is black (I mean, their name makes it quick obvious right?). Their wings and tail are also black. However, the tail of this bird has some white blotches that can be seen on closer inspection. Their breasts can be either light or dark orange. You will also spot some yellow specks on their tummies.
The head and neck of the female are brown. They also have a black streak on their backs which gives them the appearance of a sparrow.
The black-headed grosbeak is often mistaken for a robin, thanks to its light orange bellies, black eyes, and black forehead.
- Varied Thrush
In terms of size, the varied thrush is considered to be a reasonably large thrush species. They weigh about 65-100 grams, and their wingspan can reach 35-42 centimeters. The varied thrush has a black and bright orange plumage, making them very attractive.
The male varied thrush has a nicely curved gray pattern close to its throat and breast. The markings on their beak vary according to individual male thrushes, but all have a tan color near the bottom of the lower beak.
The females aren’t as beautiful as the males. The female varied thrush has brown, olive green, and gray feathers. The size of the varied thrush, along with its eye color, are some of the reasons why they are often mistaken for robins.
- Bullock’s Oriole
The bullock oriole and the Baltimore oriole were formerly known as one species. They were both classified as the Northern Orioles. The bullock oriole weighs about 29-43 grams, and they boast a wingspan of 31 centimeters.
The bullock oriole males are more colorful than their female counterparts. The adult bullock oriole male’s wing, tail, and head are black. The black color sharply contrasts with the face, breasts, and undersides, which are orange.
On the other hand, the females have brown-gray upper parts. This isn’t very interesting when compared to the bright male orange. The undersides are a dull yellow, and their crowns are olive.
- Eastern Towhee
We are back to our towhee friends. But this time, we are talking about the Eastern towhee. The Eastern towhee weighs about 32-53 grams, and they have a wingspan of 20-30 centimeters. These birds can be seen in their breeding grounds in Eastern North America. They like to perch on trees in open woods or brushy regions.
The males of the Eastern towhee have blackheads and upper wings. Their tails have white edges. The female Eastern towhee is brown in all the colored parts of their male counterparts. Again, the females get the short end of the stick.
- Blackburnian Warbler
The blackburnian warblers will usually be seen in coniferous and deciduous forests.
The male warblers have an orange throat, bright yellow rumps, dark grey backs, and brown crowns. Their underparts are white, with a few faint stripes of black and yellow. Additionally, they have twin white wing bands that are only visible when flying.
Blackburnian Warblers have sexually dimorphic plumage, yet both sexes have the same appearance. Only the females’ general plumage appears duller and lacks the males’ head markings.
- Common Redstart
The common redstart weighs about 11-23 grams, and they have a wingspan of 20-22 centimeters. They are members of the old world flycatcher. They like to make their nests on the edge of woodland clearings and can be found in England, Asia, and Europe.
Compared to the males, the females’ underparts are paler and have browner feathers in their plumage. They lack grey upper portions and have white throats.
The males’ heads and upper bodies are grayish, and their foreheads are white. Their underwing, flanks, and rumps are entirely orange-chestnut. The tail feathers are orange-red, while the flight wings and center feathers are brown.