Rose Robin

Did you know?

The Rose Robin is the most acrobatic of the red robins, catching flying insects high in trees.

Male has pretty, trilled song: 'dick-dick-diddit-deer-deer-deer'; both sexes 'tick'.
Facts and Figures
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Breeding season: 
September to February
Clutch Size: 
Usually 2
16 days
Conservation Status
Basic Information
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What does it look like?

The Rose Robin is a slender robin with a relatively long tail. Males are dark grey above, with a white patch above the bill (frontal patch), and have a rose-pink breast. The lower part of the underbody and outer tail feathers are white, the wings and upper tail dark grey. Females are mainly brown-grey above with a small white frontal patch, white outertail and wing bars, and off-white below, with occasional pale pink wash across breast. Young birds resemble females, but are streaked white above, usually lack the white frontal patch, and are mottled darked brown underneath, with less or no pink. Rose Robins are the most acrobatic of the red robin genus (Petroica) with a darting, tumbling flight, and forage higher up in the canopy.

Similar species: 

The Rose Robin may sometimes be confused with the other red robins that share its wet forest habitat, with the females and juveniles being the hardest to distinguish. However, it generally tends to be slimmer with a much longer tail and shorter legs. It can be distinguished from the rather similar Pink Robin, P. rodinogaster, by the following: the male not as black, and the pink only on the breast (it extends further down abdomen for Pink Robin), while the female is more grey than brown; the Pink Robin also has no white in the tail. Flame Robins (P. phoenicea ) are generally bigger and bulkier, with males having a distinctive white wing bar not seen in the Rose Robin.

Where does it live?

The Rose Robin is found in south-eastern Australia from south-east Queensland, along coast and inland to western slopes of Great Dividing Range in New South Wales and south into Victoria, to eastern parts of Western District. Occasional visitor to South Australia.


The Rose Robin prefers wet forest and rainforest habitats during spring and summer, moving into drier, more open habitats during autumn and winter. Mainly found in the temperate zone, but is found in sub-tropical zone in south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales. May sometimes be seen in farm and town gardens when migrating.

Seasonal movements: 

Seasonal migrant, moving south into wetter habitats during the spring and summer breeding season and moving north during the colder months, especially from Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Also moves down from higher altitudes in autumn and winter.

What does it do?

The Rose Robin feeds on insects and mainly forages in the upper to mid-canopy, but will also feed from the ground. It is very active, flitting from tree to tree or to the ground, and will not return to the same perch, unlike other robins.


The Rose Robin breeds in pairs, with the female incubating the eggs and both sexes feeding the young. The compact, cup-shaped nest is placed towards the outer end of a branch or in a tree fork, and is made of green moss, with some twigs and bark, lined with plant down or fur and camoflaged with lichen. Three broods can be raised in a single season. Nests may be parasitised by cuckoos, including the Pallid (Cuculus pallidus) and Brush Cuckoos (Cacomantis variolosus) and the Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx basalis).

Living with us

Land-clearing for urban development, especially along the coast, has cause local extinctions of Rose Robin populations. Rose Robins are quite sensitive to habitat fragmentation and the loss of understorey. May sometimes be killed by cats.

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