Family Petroicidae

This family is not related to the Old World robins, but occurs only in New Guinea, Australia and the islands of the western Pacific. They are small insect-eating birds, with the males being brightly coloured and easily identified while the duller, brownish females are sometimes rather difficult to distinguish. None of them is primarily a suburban garden bird, but may occur in woodland or grassland fringes or when passing through gardens during seasonal migrations.

Of the 22 species that occur in Australia, ten occur in the ACT region. The Flame, Scarlet and Rose Robins are altitudinal migrants that move from the higher country to milder, lower altitudes in the winter. The Jacky Winter (68 records), Eastern Yellow Robin and Hooded Robin are resident in the region but do not cope well in the suburban environment. The Pink Robin (24) normally inhabits cool wet rainforests, while the Red-capped Robin (8) is an uncommon visitor from the drier country to the west.

Robins are often seen sitting on fences or on lower tree branches and tree trunks, waiting to pounce on their prey. They plunge down to capture their prey, then fly back to a perch to eat it. They build well-disguised cup-shaped nests of bark and other vegetable matter in a fork or on a limb of a tree or shrub, generally not far from the ground.