New Zealand Robin
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Petroicidae
Genus: Petroica
Species: Petroica autralis
The New Zealand Robin or Toutouwai (Māori), Petroica australis, is a sparrow-sized bird found only in New Zealand, where it has the status of a protected endemic species. The birds are sparsely distributed through South Island and Stewart Island/Rakiura, although the distribution is not continuous. The South Island Robin (Petroica australis australis), and the Stewart Island Robin (Petroica australis rakiura) are today accepted as subspecies. The species is closely related to the North Island Robin (formerly Petroica australis longipes, now considered a distinct species [Miller & Lambert, 2006]), and also to the extremely rare Black Robin (Petroica traversi) of the Chatham Islands.

The male's plumage is a dark slate grey whereas the female is dark grey-brown. On both birds the throat and belly are considerably lighter, in the male a cream colour. It is this bright breast that gave the birds their name, in comparison with the bright breast of the European Robin. The birds generally inhabit the forest fringe, and can often be found in the green belts of towns and cities.


  • 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.  (HTML abstract)

External linksEdit

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