Mangrove robin

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Mangrove robin
Peneoenanthe pulverulenta - Cairns Esplanade.jpg
In Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Petroicidae
Genus: Peneoenanthe
Mathews, 1920
P. pulverulenta
Binomial name
Peneoenanthe pulverulenta
Bonaparte, 1850
  • P. p. pulverulenta
  • P. p. leucura
  • P. p. alligator
  • P. p. cinereiceps
  • Peneonanthe pulverulenta
  • Eopsaltria pulverulenta

The mangrove robin (Peneoenanthe pulverulenta) is a species of bird in the family Petroicidae. It is found in the Aru Islands, New Guinea and northern Australia. The bird's common name refers to its natural habitat. They live in mangrove forests and seldom fly outside these biomes.


The mangrove robin belongs to the order Passeriformes and the family Petroicidae. The species consists of four recognized subspecies.[2]

The subspecies pulverulenta was described by Charles Lucien Bonaparte in 1850 and is found in New Guinea. Subspecies leucura was described by John Gould in 1869, subspecies alligator was described by Gregory Mathews in 1912, and subspecies cinereiceps was described by Ernst Hartert in 1905 – all three of these subspecies are found in Northern Australia.[2]


Dorsal view of Mangrove robin showing white in outer rectrices

The mangrove robin has an average weight of 21.3 grams (0.75 oz) for males and 17.3 grams (0.61 oz) for females.[3] Their wingspan differs between subspecies – the leucura subspecies have spans of 86 millimetres (3.4 in) to 90 millimetres (3.5 in) for males and 77 millimetres (3.0 in) to 84 millimetres (3.3 in) for females, while the alligator subspecies have spans of 82 millimetres (3.2 in) to 87 millimetres (3.4 in) for males and 76 millimetres (3.0 in) to 80 millimetres (3.1 in) for females. For cinereiceps, male birds have wingspans of 80 millimetres (3.1 in) to 84 millimetres (3.3 in) long; on the other hand, female wingspans are 76 millimetres (3.0 in) to 78 millimetres (3.1 in) long.[4] They feature a "dull pale bar" at the bottom of their remiges, although this is not very noticeable.[4] In order to facilitate their navigation through thick mangrove forests, mangrove robins have developed wings and tails that are rounded.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The bird is found in the Northern Australia region and the island of New Guinea,[6] within the countries of Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. Their preferred habitat are tropical and subtropical mangrove forests located above the level of high tide.[1] They seldom travel outside their habitat.[7]

The mangrove robin has been placed on the least Concern category of the IUCN Red List, as the population has remained stable throughout the last ten years.[1] The size of its distribution range is over 426,000 square kilometres (164,000 sq mi).[6]


The call of the mangrove robin has been described as a "down-slurred whistle". It eats insects in the mud when the tide falls.[8] While these may be its primary prey, the mangrove robin also consumes a significant amount of crab in its diet.[7]


  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2012). "Eopsaltria pulverulenta". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Mangrove Robin (Peneoenanthe pulverulenta)". Handbook of the Birds of the World. Internet Bird Collection. 2003. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  3. ^ Dunning, John B. Jr. (December 5, 2007). CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses (Second ed.). CRC Press. p. 411. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Schodde, Richard; Mason, Ian J. (October 1, 1999). Directory of Australian Birds: Passerines. CSIRO Publishing. pp. 469–471. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  5. ^ Hunter, Malcolm L., ed. (June 10, 1999). Maintaining Biodiversity in Forest Ecosystems. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Mangrove Robin (Eopsaltria pulverulenta)". BirdLife International. 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Prins, Herbert H. T.; Gordon, Iain J., eds. (January 31, 2014). Invasion Biology and Ecological Theory: Insights from a Continent in Transformation. Cambridge University Press. p. 106. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  8. ^ Thomas, Sarah; Andrew, David (2011). The Complete Guide to Finding the Birds of Australia. CSIRO Publishing. p. 90. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  • del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew; Christie, David A., eds. (2007). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-84-96553-42-2.

Further reading[edit]

  • Christidis, L.; Irestedt, M.; Rowe, D.; Boles, W.E.; Norman, J.A. (2011). "Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA phylogenies reveal a complex evolutionary history in the Australasian robins (Passeriformes: Petroicidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 61 (3): 726–738. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.08.014.