How Long Does It Take Robin Eggs To Hatch (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 12 to 16 days

The migratory bird Robin is famously known as the American Robin. They survive on invertebrates such as earthworms, caterpillars, etc, in addition to fruits and berries. They are songbirds that sing at dawn in repetitive tunes of soothing melody.

A robin bird’s nest is typically made of twigs, feathers, long coarse grass, and paper. A female robin bird can lay eggs only when its nest is completely ready. The female birds lay their eggs at a later time compared to other songbirds to maintain good nutrition and health while incubating.

Robins may take up to 2-6 days to build their nest. The whole process of building a nest to the hatching of the eggs may take anything between 16 to 27 days. A female robin lays up to 5 eggs during the first nesting of the season.

How Long Does It Take Robin Eggs To Hatch?

Robin eggs may take anything between 12 to 16 days to hatch. The eggs are laid one by one each day till a group of 4 to 5 blue eggs are ready to be incubated by the mother. During the egg-laying period, the mother does not spend much time in her nest to ensure all the eggs develop roughly at the same time.

Female robin incubates her eggs at least 50 minutes of every hour of the incubation period. The incubation period may extend to more than two weeks. The incubated eggs start to hatch one after another in the order in which they were laid.

A single egg may take a whole day to break into its shells as the young robin requires sufficient breaks in between to rest and gain energy to come out of the egg. Newly hatched robins are very light in weight and are born blind and naked. At the age of 13 days, the young birds are ready to leave the nest and survive on their own.

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Some characteristics of Robin eggs include:

  • Clutch Size: 3 – 5 eggs
  • Number of Broods: 1-3 brood
  • Egg Description: Blue or Blue-green and Unmarked
  • Egg Length: 2.8 – 3 cm
  • Egg Width: 2.1 – 2.5 cm

In summary:

ProcessTime
Nestling2 – 13 days
Hatching 12 – 16 days

Why Does It Take Robin Eggs To Hatch So Long?

Robin eggs are small and beautiful to look at. Both the parents are involved in all the stages leading to the hatching of the eggs. Certain factors that determine the hatching time of a robin egg include:

Temperature

A healthy temperature must be maintained by the mother robin during the incubation period to ensure the proper development of the embryos. An adult robin has a normal body temperature of 104 degrees. The mother robin develops a brood patch to regulate the temperature transmitted to the eggs during the summer and winter seasons.

A constant temperature is mandatory for the growth of the bird inside an egg. Cool temperatures or very warm temperatures can inhibit the proper growth and development of the eggs. A mother robin uses its feathers as an insulating material to keep her eggs warm enough.

Prolonged exposure to constant hot or cold temperatures may alter hatching success. To inhibit this, the mother bird rotates her eggs around the nest to ensure an even temperature. Rotating the eggs also ensures the embryos don’t get stuck to the eggshell.

External Disturbances

Human-made activities such as changes made to landscapes, cutting down of trees to make houses and residential areas may affect the hatching of eggs. Predators such as cats, other birds, etc can also cause disturbances during the incubation period that may hinder the growth of the embryos inside the eggs.

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Seasons

Changing weathers and seasons can greatly impact the development of an unhatched egg. Exposure to extreme weather conditions may result in a prolonged hatching period. Seasonal changes may also have an impact on the mother bird, thereby reducing the rate of hatching success.

Conclusion

Robin birds are migratory songbirds that lay eggs in groups of 4 or 5 in the spring season. Their eggs are blue due to the presence of a pigment inherited from the mother bird. It takes up to 12 to 16 days for robin eggs to hatch.

A wide variety of factors such as temperature, season, and other external disturbances may affect the hatching time of a robin egg. A constant incubation temperature is desired to obtain healthy embryo growth inside the egg. After 13 days of hatching, the young birds leave their nests to live another 5 to 6 years.

References

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40168303
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2420891
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