Do Robins and Cardinals Get Along?

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Do Robins and Cardinals Get Along?

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Certain types of birds can be territorial and aggressive, making for a fiercely competitive environment among the different species.

You may be left wondering whether different types of birds can peacefully coexist.

For example, do robins and cardinals get along?

It may be surprising, but certain robins and cardinals will actually take part in a mutualism and share nests to conserve energy within their ecosystem. So, they get along to a certain extent – at least enough to share a home on occasion, but they generally. 

We’ll explore the following questions about relationships between robins and cardinals:

  • How aggressive are robins?
  • How aggressive are cardinals?
  • Are cardinals more or less aggressive than robins?
  • Which types of robins and cardinals share nests?
  • Is nest sharing among robins and cardinals peaceful?

How Aggressive Are Robins?

It’s important to note the differences between robins and cardinals.

Robins aren’t necessarily aggressive outright. However, their species is known for being quite confrontational. The reason for this demeanor is that they are a very territorial type of bird. 

Despite the fact that robins have long been lauded as a beautiful, sweet type of bird, they can actually take to the offense in many different scenarios.

How Aggressive Are Robins?
Robin

For example, male robins will fight with their rivals, and even kill them in some cases.

The red breast of a robin actually mimics a kind of red flag, or warning, to rival birds that might cross its path. 

Particularly in male robins, you’ll see aggressive territorialism when it comes to guarding its brood and their nest.

The males have a job to protect and provide enough food, and they won’t let other birds get in the way of that objective.

This is especially true when it comes to birds who share the same diet as them; cardinals happen to be one of those species of birds. 


As a Result: And since robins do not migrate in the winter, they will continue to guard and protect their territory or nest all year round. This gives the birds even more motivation to hold their ground. 


How Aggressive Are Cardinals?

Keep in mind that nearly all species of birds carry some traits of aggressive behavior, but usually only when their nest, food, or young are being threatened. 

So it should come as no surprise, then, that cardinals can also become aggressive when defending their territory or their brood. This is especially the case in male cardinals who, despite being beautiful red songbirds, can become very territorially aggressive during the breeding season. 

Note that this territorialism is usually to ward off breeding competitors.

Red cardinal bird
Cardinal

However, that territorialism can translate to warding off other species of birds if they’re encroaching on their young. 

Male cardinals will go to great lengths to protect their young since bird nests are often raided by other types of birds.

Robins may actually, in some cases, try to raid a cardinal nest, even going so far as to take the baby cardinal eggs or baby cardinals.

Are Cardinals More or Less Aggressive than Robins?

It would seem that, in general, cardinals are the less aggressive bird when comparing the two.

The aggression and territorial nature they carry is typically reserved for breeding season, when much more is at stake for the survival of them and their families.


Pleasant Birds: At other times of the year, though, cardinals are for the most part social and pleasant, taking on their songbird personalities. 


Which Types of Robins and Cardinals Share Nests?

Considering the relative aggression of both cardinals and robins, it may be shocking to find out that on occasion, the two will share a nest.

This phenomenon is possible, though it’s pretty rare to see in the wild.

It’s called a mutualism – a type of symbiotic relationship between two living organisms that they both benefit from. 

You’re really only going to see this type of coexistence occurring between certain types of robins and cardinals. 

Namely, it happens when American Robins and Northern Cardinals temporarily share a nest in an effort to conserve energy within their ecosystem. This way, both birds can benefit from the nesting space. It should also be noted that this only happens among female American Robins and female Northern Cardinals – not the males. 

Aside from this relationship, though, there aren’t really any notable instances of good rapport between the two types of birds. 

Is Nest Sharing among Robins and Cardinals Peaceful?

If a situation does arise where a female robin and a female cardinal share a nest for the symbiotic benefits, it’s not necessarily going to be conflict-free.

What Types of Insects and Bugs Do Baby Cardinals Eat?
Baby Cardinals

The thing about this relationship is that it’s done out of necessity and still very much involves a motivation to survive for both birds.

At the end of the day, they will each do what they have to to protect their young and their food.

At first, it can be a peaceful exchange – a way to conserve energy by sharing a nest instead of both birds building one. However, cardinals are quite a territorial bird, so over time, the interactions between these two birds become more aggressive and competitive, particularly on the cardinal’s end of the match-up. 

Conclusion

So, do robins and cardinals get along?

It seems that these two types of birds aren’t necessarily on great terms since they both exhibit territorial aggression in different circumstances.

However, on occasion, certain female robins and female cardinals may share a nest for the sake of conserving their energy and having a place to roost. 

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