Encyclopedia > Petroicidae

  Article Content


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia



The bird family Petroicidae includes roughly 45 species in about 15 genera. All are endemic to Australasia or nearby areas. For want of a more accurate common name, the family is often described as the Australasian robins: it extends beyond Australasia, however, and includes not just robins but the Jacky Winter[?], the New Zealand Tomtit[?], some flycatchers, and scrub-robins.

Most species have a stocky build with a large, rounded head, a short, straight bill, and rounded wingtips. They occupy a wide range of wooded habitats, from subalpine to tropical rainforest, and mangrove swamps to semi-arid scrubland. All are primarily insectivoruos, although a few supplement their diet with seeds. Hunting is mostly by perch and pounce, a favoured tactic being to cling sideways onto a treetrunk and scan the ground below without moving.

Social organisation is usually centered on long term pair-bonds and small family groups. Some genera practice cooperative breeding[?], with all family members helping defend a territory and feed nestlings.

Nests are cup-shaped, usually constructed by the female, and often placed in a vertical fork of a tree or shrub; many species are expert at adding moss, bark or lichen to the outside of the nest as camoflague, making it very difficult to spot (even when it is in a seemingly prominent location).

The relationship of the Petroicidae to other bird families is uncertain. They are clearly part of a particularly old lineage. Sibley and Alquist's DNA-DNA hybridisation studies suggested that they were most closely allied with the superfamily Corvoidea[?] (a huge group that includes the shrikes, crows and jays, butcherbirds[?], wood-swallows[?], drongos[?], cuckoo-shrikes[?], fantails[?], monarch flycatchers[?] and many others).

More recent protein allozyme studies, on the other hand, suggest that they be placed with the Meliphagoidea[?]—the superfamily that includes the honeyeaters, Australian wrens, Pardalotes, and thornbills[?]) and itself derives from the great Australasian corvid radiation.

Although the details remain uncertain, the overall picture is clear: despite the striking similarity between the robins of Australasia and the true robins of Europe, their genetic relationship is quite distant, and the Petroicidae are more closely related to the crows and jays than to the group of northern hemisphere birds which resemble them in appearance, diet, habits, and even colouration.

  • Superfamily Meliphagoidea[?]
    • Family Petroicidae
      • Jacky Winter[?], Microeca fascinans
      • Lemon-bellied Flycatcher, Microeca flavigaster
      • Yellow-legged Flycatcher, Microeca griseoceps
      • Scarlet Robin[?], Petroica multicolor
      • New Zealand Tomtit, Petroica macrocephala
      • Red-capped Robin, Petroica goodenovii
      • Flame Robin[?], Petroica phoenicea
      • Rose Robin, Petroica rosea
      • Pink Robin[?], Petroica rodinogaster
      • New Zealand Robin, Petroica australis
      • Black Robin, Petroica traversi
      • Hooded Robin, Melanodryas cicullata
      • Dusky Robin, Melanodryas vittata
      • Pale-yellow Robin, Tregellasia capito
      • White-faced Robin, Tregellasia leucops
      • Eastern Yellow Robin[?], Eopsaltria australis
      • Western Yellow Robin, Eopsaltria griseogularis
      • White-breasted Robin, Eopsaltria georgiana
      • Mangrove Robin, Eopsaltria pulverulenta
      • White-browed Robin, Poecilodryas superciliosa
      • Grey-headed Robin, Heteromyias albispecularis
      • Northern Scrub-Robin, Drymodes superciliaris
      • Southern Scrub-Robin, Drymodes brunnoepygia
    • Family Pardalotidae: pardalotes, thornbills, and allies
    • Family Meliphagidae: honeyeaters and chats
    • Family Maluridae: fairy-wrens, emu-wrens and grasswrens
  • (Many other passerine families not listed here)

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article
Islandia, New York

... 0.03% Pacific Islander, 4.94% from other races, and 2.91% from two or more races. 19.10% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. There are 1,007 ...

This page was created in 30.8 ms