Black robin

Black robin and Chatham Island warbler

Black robin and Chatham Island warbler from Buller's Birds of New Zealand, Supplement, 1905.

Black robin

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.”

Black robin, Chatham Island fernbird, Stephens Island wrens

Baron Lionel Walter Rothchild's Extinct Birds, 1907; Black robin, Chatham Island fernbird, Stephens Island wrens.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Eopsaltriidae
Genera: Petroica
Species: traversi
Sub Species:  
Other common names:  —

Miro traversi, Chatham Island Robin.

Description:  — 

Endemic bird

15cm; 25g male, 22g female; completely black.

Where to find:  — 

Chatham Islands only.

More Information:  — 

»»»  Department of Conservation
(Chatham Island black robin)

Youtube video  — 
Credit for the photograph: — 

Don Merton

Old blue
Illustration description: — 

Buller, W.R., Birds of New Zealand, Supplement, 1905.

Extinct Birds, Baron Lionel Walter Rothchild, London, Hutchinson and Co, 1907.

Reference(s): — 

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Fleming, C.A. & Lodge, G.E. The Unpublished NZ Bird Paintings, 1982.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: — 

Monday, 2 October, 2023; ver2023v1