Animal Species:Flame Robin

Flame Robins are the only robins to form flocks in winter.

Flame Robin at nest feeding young

Michael Seyfort © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Flame Robin

Identification

Male Flame Robins have a bright orange breast and throat, and are white on the lower belly and undertail. The top of their head and back is dark slate grey and there is a clear white stripe on the folded wing. The bill is black and the legs dark brown. The female is quite different from the male, being mostly grey-brown with a pale buff wing stripe, and a mostly white outer tail feather. Young Flame Robins resemble the adult female, but the brown of the back is heavily streaked with buff and the pale belly is streaked with brown. 

Size range

12 cm to 14 cm

Similar Species

Scarlet Robin

Distribution

Flame Robins are found in a broad coastal band around the south-east corner of the Australian mainland, from southern Queensland to just west of the South Australian border. The species is also found in Tasmania.

Habitat

Flame Robins prefer forests and woodlands up to about 1800 m above sea level.

Seasonality

In winter, Flame Robins may move to lower and more open areas, including gardens, and some Tasmanian birds move to the mainland.

Feeding and Diet

Flame Robins feed on insects, spiders and other small arthropods. Birds take prey from the ground, pouncing on it from exposed lookouts, then return to a perch to eat. Outside of the breeding season, Flame Robins often forage in scattered flocks, but are otherwise seen alone.

Communication

Flame Robins have an attractive song. The high-pitched musical trill has three sets of three notes, which have been interpreted as "you may come if you wish to the sea".

Mating and reproduction

The Flame Robin may lay up to two clutches during breeding season. The eggs are pale green or blue eggs, spotted with brown marks. These marks are mostly at the larger end. The nest is built by the female, and is a grass and bark cup, bound with spider web and decorated with lichen. It is normally placed in a cavity in a tree or rock face, or other similar area up to 20 m above the ground. The female also incubates the eggs, while the male supplies her with food. Both sexes feed the young chicks. 

  • Breeding season: August to January
  • Clutch size: 3 to 4
  • Incubation: 14 days
  • Time in nest: 16 days

Classification

Species:
phoenicea
Genus:
Petroica
Family:
Petroicidae
Order:
Passeriformes
Class:
Aves
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  • Boles, W.E. 1988. The Robins and Flycatchers of Australia. Angus and Robertson and The National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.
  • Pizzey, G. and Knight, F. 1997. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
  • Schodde, R. and Tideman, S.C. (eds) 1990. Reader's Digest Complete Book of Australian Birds (2nd Edition). Reader's Digest (Australia) Pty Ltd, Sydney.
  • Battam, H., Leishman, A.J. and Smith, L.E. 1986. Nesting of the Australian Pelican on Martin Island, Five Islands, New South Wales. Australian Birds 20: 61-62.


Ondine Evans , Web Researcher/Editor
Last Updated:

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