Ian’s Bird of the Week – Eastern Yellow Robin ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter – 5/10/11
Here’s another familiar Australian species that hasn’t featured as Bird of the Week: the Eastern Yellow Robin. Familiar in mainland eastern Australia I should add, as it’s absent from Tasmania and it is replaced by the closely related Western Yellow Robin in southern Western Australia and southwestern South Australia. It’s familiar because its colourful and confiding and, with human contact, it gets quite tame in places such as picnic areas in parks.
There are two races differing mainly in the colour of the rump. The nominate race, ranging from eastern South Australia to central New South Wales has an olive rump, while the northern race (chrysorrhoa) has a bright yellow rump, visible in the second photo, and is found from northern New South Wales to northeastern Queensland. Australo-Papuan Robins build beautiful cup-shaped nests and camouflage them by decorating the outside with bark, lichen and grasses, as in the third photo.
What a neat little bird. Definitely different than what I think of a Robin.
If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days. (Deuteronomy 22:6-7 KJV)
In the Birds of the World here you will find the two families – Petroicidae – Australian Robins and the Muscicapidae – Chats, Old World Flycatchers, plus Ian didn’t mention the Turdidae – Thrushes Family, which has our American Robin. Kind of confusing, isn’t it?