Birds That Look Like Robins but Aren’t (With Pictures)

Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Lily Aldrin

There are some birds out there that are said to be like robins, but actually, they aren’t robins. It is because of their features that are also common in robins up to some extent.

These birds have a rusty or red color body and a chest of white color. Some of these birds also contain black lines on them. Because of these appearances, they can resemble a robin.

The American Robin’s scientific name is Turdus migratorius. They are one of the most important bird species, and also they are abundant in number.

If you come across a bird feeder, ask him about the birds who frequently visit their feeders.

It is most probable that he is going to answer you that American robins are one of the bird species that often pay a visit to the bird feeders.

Since their quantities in our biodiversity are large, that clearly implies that they are playing a substantial role in balancing and running the ecosystem in a smooth way.

In this write up you will be getting to know about some of the bird species that resemble the American Robin, but in reality, these are different birds.

So below, you will get to know a list of those birds.

Spotted towheeSpotted towhee
Varied ThrushVaried Thrush
Eastern TowheeEastern Towhee
Common redstartCommon redstart
Black-headed GrosbeakBlack-headed Grosbeak

Birds That Look Like Robins but Aren’t

1. Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee

The Spotted Towhee is a Xerox copy of the American robins, and it will take a closer observation to identify whether it is a robin or Towhee.


They reside in many states of the United States, ranging from Washington, California, to the mist western coast of the Pacific; besides the western end of the United States, they can also be easily found in Oregon, Utah, Sothern, British Colombia.


The Spotted Towhee, a robin-like bird with an orange and black breast, is a gorgeous and brilliantly colorful bird. The Spotted Towhee inhabits a wide range of habitats, including coastal regions and islands; as we have discussed above, they are found in abundance on the westernmost Pacific coast of the United States.

It nests in marshes during the dry and cold spring and summer seasons then returns to its woodland to eat throughout the winter.


Despite these resemblances, if you have know-how about these birds, you can identify them. Below we are going to mention some differences that will help you differentiate between the two species.

One of the most prominent differences is that robins are of rusty color. Whereas the spotted Towhee have rufous sides, and most of the belly part is of white color, and Robin’s belly is mostly covered by their rusty dominant color. Besides these, you can spot tiny dots of white color on the back and wings of towhees.

When it comes to size, robins have a bigger frame than the spotted Towhee. The spotted Towhee has a black color bill while robins have yellow. Moreover, the biggest difference as the name suggests is spotted towhees which means that they have spots on all their body.

The blackheads of the robins and spotted towhees are that which make the two birds look similar. Both have tails of bigger length and the overall body size.

2. Varied Thrush

Varied Thrush


These are nomad birds that tend to migrate a lot, and they breed around the Alaska region, northern California, and the western bank of the United States. They like to live in the backyard, mixed woodlands, and also park for their sustenance.

They recurrently pay a visit to the upper part of the Midwest during the winter season and also the northeast.


The Varied Thrush is a big, virtually featherless bird belonging to the Ixoreus genus. They’re native to North America, but they’re found all around the world, and they’re sometimes mistaken for other common songbirds like the Robin.

They are, however, considerably diverse in terms of body shape and size, as well as in terms of their songs.


Varied and robins are of the same length. They have a bill of great strength and are spherical-headed, and have a body that is sturdy. Robins and varied thrush have the same orange rusty color, and their feathers resemble a lot. Males are usually blue-gray, and females are slightly brownish in color.

You need to closely observe while looking for a varied thrush because, as we have discussed earlier that they have the same orange color, but one thing that is important and you also should take notice of is that they have a more vibrant orange color when it comes to comparing them with robins.

Moreover, there are also orange spots on the wings of the varied thrush, and these spots can also be seen on the eyes and back of these birds.

Generally, both of the birds have the same small length, but a keen observation depicts that varied thrush is comparatively shorter than the robins. The tails of the robins have great length when compared with the varied thrush.

The body structure and the body build of both birds are nearly identical. Also, the rusty orange color of both the birds makes them look the same. These features of the varied thrush make them similar to the robins.

3. Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee

The eastern Towhee, like the Robin, is a fairly big New World sparrow with striking red and orange feathers. Towhees have a habit of nesting around or in abandoned beech trees, which is a frequent trait.

This might be due to their proclivity for building nests in abandoned tree branches and hollow logs; these characteristics could explain their frequent occurrence. When the eastern Towhee was initially discovered in 1774, it was assumed to be a distinct species belonging to the same family as the common Robin.


You can see these birds usually in the great lakes region in the southern part of Canada, and besides that, they are along the Atlantic seaboard of the United States. They tend to live in bushy or low bushy parts of the United States.


Their belly is an off-white color, and the black usably covers all the body parts and the upper portion and above head region. Besides this, the rufous side makes them appear ditto to robins. The average length of the eastern Towhee is around 18 to 24 cm.

The body’s rufous color is the most prominent feature of the two birds that make both birds appear the same. Both have necks and heads of the same black color. Moreover, the lengths of their tales are also the same.


The Eastern Towhee and the American Robin share some characteristics. Like the spotted Towhee, the Eastern Towhee’s rufous hue only covers the sides. Towhees have white bottom portions, whereas Robins have a burnt orange coating.

The bill is trapezoidal and shorter in the Eastern Towhees. Furthermore, the top body colors of these two species differ. The Eastern Towhees are smaller than the American Robins.

4. Common Redstart

Common redstart

The Common Redstart is a small passerine bird that resembles the Robin. It’s a migratory bird that spends the winter in Africa. It’s common in the United Kingdom and East European lowlands. Birch and oak woodlands, as well as low shrub patches, are common ecosystems.

The Parulidae family includes the Common Redstart. Because of their black plumage and orange breast, they are frequently mistaken for Robins. These birds may be found in Florida’s central and northern regions.

Large cities, suburbs, small villages, and even country areas are all home to it. The male is usually highly colorful and domineering, whilst the female is considerably quieter and less aggressive.

On your front porch or patio is a perfect area to put a bird feeder. These birds can also be seen in backyards among huge trees. Because of their brilliant colors and capacity to provide life to any environment, they are a favorite target for bird watchers.


Berries, insects, and various seeds are favorites of these birds. To attract a mate, the female will typically spread out her wings and make a call to give a sign to males that she is ready for mating. It’s no surprise that this bird has become a popular species in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Florida because of these characteristics and its lovely colors.


The body shape of the common redstart is slim and has a decent length. They are among the small bird species, and on average, they have lengths of 13 to 14 cm.


They contain an elongated orange rusty color tail. Beneath the wings, the body is also of the same color as the tail. Their faces are black, and the crowns are of white color.

There are most likely chances that you will take a common redstart for a robin. It is pretty common, and you need to observe them closely if you need to differentiate between a robin and common redstart. Redstarts have a forehead of white color, whereas there are white circles that are covering the eyes of robins.

Besides that, you can also differentiate by observing the beaks of the common redstarts. The black bill is also one of the peculiar features that will help you in pointing out the difference between a robin and common redstart.

The common redstart has a tail that is of more width, and that is usually absent in the robins.

Both of the birds have a rusty orange underpart. The bills of both the birds are also similar. The color of the throat is black, which is common between the two birds. These are some features that they both share.

5. Black-headed Grosbeak

black headed grosbeak

The Cardinalidae family contains the black-headed grosbeak as well as the northern cardinal; most black-headed grosbeaks that aren’t already in Mexico will move there in the winter and stay until spring.

They like to reside in woodland settings with huge trees and plants, although they may also be found in wetlands and cities.

While they do build nests in bushes on occasion, they prefer to build them in trees high above the ground. The male and female black-headed grosbeaks, unlike other songbird species, will take turns incubating their eggs.


In the summer, they eat mostly insects, while in the winter, they eat mostly seeds, berries, and fruit.

From British Columbia to the western part of the United States, the Black-headed grosbeak is a medium-sized bird. They’re also prevalent in Central America’s south. It’s a migratory bird that prefers deciduous and mixed-wooded habitats.


The average length of these birds is about 16 to 20 cm. Males have soft black-colored heads, and their wings are also of black colors. These birds are heavy, and their bills are also thick. The under part of these birds is a blend of yellow and orange color.

The Robins’ rusty-colored breast and belly are more brilliant than the Black-Headed grosbeak’s. The Robins lack the white markings that the grosbeak has. The grosbeak is a smaller bird than the Robin.

The most noticeable orange and yellow bottom portions are the most perplexing feature in distinguishing this species from Robins. Despite the fact that they are smaller than robins, their body shapes are very similar. In addition, they both have blackheads.


In this write-up, we have discussed the various birds that resemble robins, but in reality, they aren’t robins.

Moreover, we have discussed the features and the similarities between some of the species that we have discussed in the articles what are the feature that makes these two birds alike, and also we have also discussed the features that make them different.

Moreover, the eating pattern and the likes have also been discussed in addition to the preferences of the birds when it comes to forage and the habitat of birds as well.


Which bird looks like a robin?

Spotted Towhee, black-headed grosbeak, common redstart.

What is the difference between a spotted towhee and a robin?

Spotted Towhee have spots on them that are absent on a robin.

What are the common things in a robin and a common redstart?

Both the birds have their underbelly of rusty orange color.

About Lily Aldrin

I am Lily Aldrin. I attended Cornell University, where I obtained my degree to become an Ornithologist so I could pursue my love of these magnificent creatures in and out of their natural habitats.

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