A flash of breast in north Cyprus



Don’t blame me for the editor’s choice of sensational headline. Earlier during the week I thought I saw a Robin in the garden but couldn’t be sure and then while walking the dog there she was; the orange breast left me in no doubt. Why do I say “she” and “orange” rather than “red?” This is because very few Robins migrate to southern Europe during winter and those that do are usually female. These migrants can be recognised by the greyer upper parts of their bodies and a dull orange breast.

The Robin is relatively unafraid of people and quite pugilistic, even approaching large wild animals to steal any food they may drop. Male Robins are noted for their highly aggressive territorial behaviour and will ruthlessly attack other males that stray into their territories and they even attack smaller birds without provocation, sometimes killing them.

Robins have been recorded as reaching the age of 12 years and so if you think you keep seeing the same Robin in your garden each year this could well be true. After three months the young Robin grows some reddish feathers under its chin and by six months this patch develops into the familiar “red breast.” But, as the breeding season is during Spring and Summer when they are not resident here,  it is doubtful that you will see any eggs or young in north Cyprus.

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