The robin will not receive official status

The British Government says it has no plans to give the much-loved robin 'official status' despite public support. 

. © Robin Andrew Howe / iStock
. © Robin Andrew Howe / iStock

The Government has rejected a call for the robin to be designated as the UK’s ‘National Bird’.

Advertisement

Naturalist David Lindo – also known as the Urban Birder and the man behind the campaign – described a statement from Defra as “predictable and boring”, adding it had failed to understand the true purpose of the idea.

“It’s not just about the robin,” Lindo said. “It’s about getting people connected to nature in urban areas, and the robin is the gateway to that.”

Lindo launched his National Bird Campaign in 2014, and in March 2015 a shortlist of 10 species – including common garden species such the robin and blackbird, as well as rarer ones such as the puffin and hen harrier – was put to the general public.

The robin won with 34 per cent of the more than 200,000 votes cast, while the barn owl came second.

Now Lindo has asked Defra to back the robin too, and a petition on the UK Government and Parliament website has collected more than 12,000 votes, requiring a response.

“The robin doesn’t need official status to make it an icon of the British countryside,” Defra said. “The Government is committed to protecting all wild birds, but has no plans to adopt a national bird at this time.”

Lindo said offcials had missed the point of his campaign and what the robin represented.

“Ours is a very different creature to that found in mainland Europe,” he said. “There, it is not tied to humans, but here it is an urban species and that makes it stand out.

“The robin typifies Britain in many ways – it’s a feisty animal that stands up for its own territory. I’d like to see it put on stamps and the backs of coins to educate people living in cities that nature is right on their doorstep.”

Advertisement

Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine