European Robin reaches the Amazon


European Robin reached the Brazilian Amazon in December 2022, it has emerged, with the bird believed to have crossed the Atlantic and journeyed up the South American river on a cruise ship.

The species is generally sedentary in Europe and, on the face of it, represents an unlikely vagrant to the Americas. Another individual reached Florida in November 2023 after crossing the Atlantic Ocean aboard the cruise ship MSC Seashore, which travelled from the Mediterranean Sea. 

However, as Ornithomedia has recently reported, an even more extraordinary record appeared on iNaturalist – a European Robin photographed aboard the Dutch vessel MS Volendam as it sailed along the Amazon River just downstream from the city of Manaus.

It is presumed that the bird boarded the ship before it left Europe and stayed on board as it crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

The European Robin aboard MS Volendam downstream of Manaus, Brazil, on 1 December 2022 (snicolai via iNaturalist).


Ship-assisted vagrants

The occurrence represents the first Brazilian record of European Robin.

Fascinatingly, it comes during the same month that the first Eurasian Hobby for South America was seen – a first-calendar-year bird that was discovered on a boat near the São Pedro and São Paulo archipelago, off the coast of Brazil.

The provenance of ship-assisted vagrants was discussed in the May 2024 edition of Birdwatch magazine. Subscribers to Bird News Ultimate PLUS are the first to receive and read the magazine every month.