A guide to Australia’s most colourful robins

By Australian Geographic September 11, 2019
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Pink, orange and yellow: Australia’s robins are one of the country’s most colourful birds.

THE FIRST THING you need to know about Australia’s robins is that they’re nothing like European robins. They actually belong to a family called Petroicidae or Australasian robins, which contains 49 species.

As Bec Crew writes, Australian robins were named after European robins by ornithologists who travelled to Australia at the time of European settlement and decided to call them robins too, despite fundamental genetic and morphological differences between them.

Australia’s robins have to be considered some of the country’s cutest birds. Round, puffy and brightly coloured, they’re much-loved and widely photographed. Here are some of our favourites. 

Hooded robin

Melanodryas cucullata

hooded robin

(Image credit: Ashley Whitworth)

The hooded robin can be easily identified by its shiny black hood and white underparts, while female hooded robins are a more muted grey colour. It’s medium in size and can be found all across mainland Australia. 

Pink robin

Petroica rodinogaster

(Image credit: Ray Wilson/Alamy)

As their name suggests, pink robins are bright pink in colour, which has made them quite the social media star of late. These birds weigh a mere 10g and can be found in the south-eastern parts of Australia, including New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

Rose robin

Petroica rosea

Rose Robin

(Image credit: James Peake/Alamy)

You’d be forgiven for getting the pink robin and the rose robin mixed up. The rose robin, however, has a more red-pink breast. Also, their underparts are white, while the pink robins entire breast is pink. They can be found in the south-eastern parts of Australia.

Flame robin

Petroica phoenicea

Flame Robin

(Image credit: David Adam/Alamy)

The flame robin sports a fiery orange-coloured breast and are almost identical to the scarlet robin. They are known as the largest species of Australian robin, but that doesn’t mean they’re very big: they weigh between 1115g. They can be found in the south-eastern parts of Australia.

Red-capped robin

Petroica goodenovii

red-capped robin

(Image credit: Chris Watson)

The red-capped robin has a similar vivid colour to the flame robin, but it also sports a fiery-orange crown, which is the best way to tell the two apart. They can be found across most of mainland Australia. 

Eastern yellow robin

Eopsaltria australis

eastern yellow robin

(Image credit: Imogen Warren)

The eastern yellow robin is basically a bright yellow version of the pink robin. They can only be found in the rainforest areas of Queensland and New South Wales.