Norfolk robin

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Norfolk robin
Petroica multicolor -Norfolk Island, Australia-8 (1).jpg
On Norfolk Island, Australia
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Petroicidae
Genus: Petroica
Species: P. multicolor
Binomial name
Petroica multicolor
Gmelin, 1789
  • Muscicapa multicolor

The Norfolk robin (Petroica multicolor), also known as the Norfolk Island scarlet robin or Norfolk Island robin, is a small bird in the Australasian robin family, Petroicidae. It is endemic to Norfolk Island, an Australian territory in the Tasman Sea, between Australia and New Zealand.


The robin was considered conspecific with the scarlet robin (Petroica boodang) of Australia, but it was separated in 1999, with the Norfolk Island form as part of the Pacific robin assemblage.[2] It was determined to be a distinct species in 2015.[3]


The Norfolk robin is similar to the Pacific robin, as well as to the scarlet robin. The adult male is distinctive, the upperparts being mainly black with a large white spot on the forehead, white bars on the wings and vestigial white tips to the tail. Its breast and upper belly are bright red with the lower belly white. The female is much duller in colouration, being mainly brown with a pinkish breast. Immatures are similar to females. It is the largest of the Pacific robin subspecies, though slightly smaller than the Scarlet Robin.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The robin is restricted to Norfolk Island, where it is largely confined to the Mt Pitt section of the Norfolk Island National Park and remnant patches of forest nearby. It mainly inhabits the native subtropical rainforest, with lower densities in other wooded habitats. It prefers areas with a dense understorey and an open ground layer with deep, moist litter for foraging in.[4]



The robin feeds on a wide variety of invertebrates.[5]

Status and conservation[edit]

After a period of decline to the 1980s, when the birds disappeared from many parts of the island, the population of the Norfolk Pacific robin apparently stabilised and was estimated at 400-500 pairs in 1988 with little change in 1997. Ongoing threats include habitat degradation and predation by black rats and feral cats. It is considered Endangered because of the restricted size of the population and area of its distribution.[6] Ongoing conservation management actions include control of rats and feral cats to minimise predation as well as control of invasive weeds to minimise habitat degradation. It is proposed to reintroduce the robin to nearby Phillip Island when the regenerating habitat there is suitable.[7]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Petroica multicolor". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T103734824A93986062. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T103734824A93986062.en. Retrieved 15 January 2018. 
  2. ^ a b Schodde & Mason, p.388.
  3. ^ Kearns, A. M. et al. (2016) Norfolk Island Robins are a distinct endangered species: ancient DNA unlocks surprising relationships and phenotypic discordance within the Australo-Pacific Robins. Conservation Genetics 17, 321–335.
  4. ^ Higgins & Peter, pp.607-608.
  5. ^ Higgins & Peter, p.613.
  6. ^ Garnett & Crowley, pp.515 and 633.
  7. ^ Commonwealth of Australia, p.6.


  • Commonwealth of Australia. (2005). National Recovery Plan for the Norfolk Island Scarlet Robin, Petroica multicolor multicolor, and the Norfolk Island Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis xanthoprocta. Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra. ISBN 0642551669 [1]
  • Garnett, Stephen T.; & Crowley, Gabriel M. (2000). The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000. Environment Australia: Canberra. ISBN 0-642-54683-5 [2]
  • Higgins, P.J.; & Peter, J.M. (eds). (2003). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 6: Pardalotes to Shrike-thrushes. Oxford University Press: Melbourne. ISBN 0-19-553762-9
  • Schodde, R.; & Mason, I.J. (1999). The Directory of Australian Birds: Passerines. CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne. ISBN 0-643-06456-7

External links[edit]