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South Island Robin - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 01:04, 24 May 2021 by Njlarsen (talk | contribs) (taxon, refs)
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P. a. australis
Photo © by Layzeboy
Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary, South Island, New Zealand, 25 February 2006
Petroica australis


P. a. australis
Photo © by Ornitho26
Cascade Creek, Fiordland National Park, South Island, New Zealand, 1 December 2005

18 cm (7 ins) 35 gm (1.13 ozs)

  • Sooty grey head, neck and upperparts
  • Faint pale grey wingbar
  • Sooty grey tail with brownish tinge
  • Slate-black chin and upper breast
  • White lower breast and belly and undertail-coverts
  • rakiura with more white on underparts

Females are similar to males, but upperparts, throat and flanks slightly paler.


An uncommon endemic found on South Island, New Zealand


Two subspecies recognized[1][2][3]:

  • P. a. australis on South Island
  • P. a. rakiura on Stewart Island

Formerly considered conspecific with North Island Robin under the name New Zealand Robin.

P. a. rakiura
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Rakiura NP-Ulva Island, New Zealand, 2 January 2017


Native and exotic forest


Long legs and an upright stance, inquisitive - almost appears tame

Perches on low branches and flies down to the forest floor - hops


Diet includes insects.


Breeding : July-Jan


Male has a loud clear song with regional differences - a string of phrases, including pwee-pwee-pwee, usually descending.Call is a soft chirp.

Recorded by Andrew Whitehouse

In Culture

Maori name: Toutouwai


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F & D Donsker (Eds). 2018. IOC World Bird List (v8.2). doi : 10.14344/IOC.ML.8.2. Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Christidis et al. 2018. The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World, version 4.1 (Downloadable checklist). Accessed from https://www.howardandmoore.org.
  4. Miller, Hilary C.; Lambert, David M. (2006). "A molecular phylogeny of New Zealand's Petroica (Aves: Petroicidae) species based on mitochondrial DNA sequences". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 40 (3): 844–855. https://doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.04.012.
  5. Higgins , P.J .; & Peter, J.M. (editors) 2002 . Handbook of Australian , New Zealand & Antarctic Birds. Volume 6 , Pardalotes to shrike-thrushes. Melbourne, Oxford University Press. [Vol. 5, pages 51-55] Vol. 6, pages 575-577 , 706-725; plate 18.
  6. Jobling, J. A. (2017). Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology. In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2017). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com).
  7. Powlesland, R.G. 2013. South Island robin. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online. http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz

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