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Toutouwai - NZ Robin - Petroica australis | by Steve Attwood
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Toutouwai - NZ Robin - Petroica australis

Order: Passeriformes

Family: Eopsaltriidae (Petroicidae)

Genera: Petroica

Species: australis

Sub Species: longipes, australis, rakiura As the popular name implies, it is naturally a tame bird; so fearless and unsuspicious of man that it will approach to within a yard of the traveller, and sometimes even perch on his head or shoulder. A noisy, active, and cheerful bird. Its note is generally the first to herald the dawn, and the last of the day birds to sing at dusk. But there is a noticeable difference between the morning and the evening performance; the former consists of notes commencing very high and running down to a low key, uttered in quick succession. The evening performance is merely a short chirping note, quickly repeated, and with a rather melancholy sound.

It lives almost entirely on small insects and the worms and grubs which are to be found among decaying leaves and other vegetable matter. It generally breeds in the months of October and November. It constructs a large and compact nest, composed externally of coarse moss firmly interwoven and thickly lined inside with the soft hair like substance which covers the young stems of the tree–fern. It is usually built against the bole of a tree, at a moderate elevation from the ground, being often found attached to and supported by the wiry stems of the kiekie. 18 cm., 35 g., dark grey with long thin legs, the male North Island robin, almost black with white spot above bill and pale grey lower breast, female and juveniles similar but greyer; male South Island, dark grey upper parts and upper chest, yellowish white lower chest and belly, white spot above bill, female and juveniles simliar with more grey on breast; Stewart Island similar to North island bird.

North Island robin, longipes, apart from good populations on Little Barrier and Kapiti Islands, are now found in a narrow band across the central North Island from Tarankai to the Bay of Plenty. The South Island robin, australis, are quite common north of Authur’s Pass National Park, in Buller, Nelson and coastal Marlborough, but are patchily distributed in southern parts. The Stewart Island robin, rakiura is quite common.

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Taken on April 13, 2012