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Acclaimed naturalist and birdwatcher Stephen Moss brings us this year's perfect Christmas gift: a year in the life of Britain's favourite bird - the robin

Selected as a Book of the Year 2017 in The Times
'There is no doubt that Moss’s book, with its charming cover and quaint illustrations, will make it into many a stocking this year'
The Times
No other bird is quite so ever-present and familiar, so embedded in our culture, as the robin.
With more than six million breeding pairs, the robin is second only to the wren as Britain’s most common bird. It seems to live its life alongside us, in every month and season of the year. But how much do we really know about this bird?

In The Robin Stephen Moss records a year of observing the robin both close to home and in the field to shed light on the hidden life of this apparently familiar bird. We follow its lifecycle from the time it enters the world as an egg, through its time as a nestling and juvenile, to the adult bird; via courtship, song, breeding, feeding, migration – and ultimately, death. At the same time we trace the robin's relationship with us: how did this particular bird – one of more than 300 species in its huge and diverse family – find its way so deeply and permanently into our nation’s heart and its social and cultural history? It’s a story that tells us as much about ourselves as it does about the robin itself.


Moss’s prettily illustrated book is full of such curiosities. Gratifyingly, though, it steers clear of becoming a dry deluge of facts, a pitfall of so much ornithological writing… Moss, a nature broadcaster and a lecturer in creative writing, is a good storyteller, seamlessly linking biological fact with the anecdotal… There is no doubt that Moss’s book, with its charming cover and quaint illustrations, will make it into many a stocking this year. Yet, this is far more than a book for Christmas. There is a serious message here. The more we learn about our favourite bird, the more we realise how much we don’t know. This gulf is evidence of how we have become distanced from the natural world… Moss’s charming paean to this bird that lives hard and dies young reminds us that it deserves to be more than a whimsical symbol of festive cheer

Patrick Galbraith, The Times

Well illustrated… The structure, examining a year in the life of the Robin in the UK, allows Moss plenty of scope to bring in a huge range of historical, literary and scientific references, and the result is a highly readable and enjoyable examination of a species that probably sparks more interest in birds in the UK than any other.

Matt Merritt, Bird Watching

A gem

Sue Price, Saga Magazine

This unpretentious little book, with a nice retro feel, follows the life of the Robin… Stephen Moss writes seemingly easily (perhaps for him it is so), telling all you want to know about Robins in a straightforward, always enjoyable style… It is a stimulating and worthwhile read

Rob Hume, Birdwatch

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Formats & editions

  • Hardback


    November 15, 2017

    Square Peg

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    November 2, 2017

    Vintage Digital

    128 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

Also by Stephen Moss

The Wren
Planet Earth II
A Guide to Coastal Wildlife
Wild Kingdom
Wild Hares and Hummingbirds
Birding With Bill Oddie
The Bumper Book of Nature


Where Song Began: Australia's Birds and How They Changed the World
Release Your Anger: Midnight Edition: An Adult Coloring Book with 40 Swear Words to Color and Relax
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Origin Story
How To Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics
The Square And The Tower
Nature Guide: Birds of Australia
Field Guide to the Birds of Australia - 8th Edition
St Petersburg
Long Road from Jarrow
A Walk in the Park
A Sky Full of Birds
The Great War
Things Can Only Get Better
The Secret Life of the Owl
Good As You
Set the Boy Free
Empire of Booze