This was one of the discoveries made by H.H. Travers when he visited the Chatham Islands in 1871. The specimens were sent to Hutton and later to Buller.
Travers writes: “I only found this bird at Mangare where it is not uncommon. It is very fearless, possessing in other respects the habits of Miro australis and Miro longipes. Its ordinary note is also the same, but I did not hear it sing. It appears especially noxious to Anthornis melanocephala, which attacks it most savagely when they meet.”
Fleming says, “the black robin represents an early colonisation of the Chathams by a relation of the robins which developed even longer tarsi, a strongly rounded (degenerate) wing with a very long first primary, and a fixed melanic plumage — just as the Snares tomtit did, independently, but presumably at a later date. These features are a result of reduced selection pressure on islands lacking predators. The black robin was able to feed on the ground, abandon the counter-shading of normal Petroica plumage, and dispense with sustained flight, changes that made it vulnerable when conditions changed.”
Link to the Department of Conservation web site: —
Conservation success story.
Other common names: —
Miro traversi, Chatham Island Robin.
15cm; 25g male, 22g female; completely black.
Where to find: —
Chatham Islands only.
Credit for the photograph: —
Illustration description: —
Buller, W.R., Birds of New Zealand, Supplement, 1905.
Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the
Birds of New Zealand, 2000.
Oliver, W.R.B., New Zealand Birds, 1955.
Fleming, C.A. & Lodge, G.E. The Unpublished NZ Bird Paintings, 1982.
Page date & version: —
Saturday, 17 May, 2014; ver2009v1