Robins in the 'hood

The bird name “Robin” stems directly from the man’s name (a diminutive form of “Robert”). The bird was originally known as a “Redbreast” in Britain, and then colloquially as “Robin Redbreast”, before the redbreast was dropped in favour of just plain robin. We have three species seen around Denmark, all named after their breast / belly colour: the White-breasted Robin; the Scarlet Robin and the Western Yellow Robin. Of course we could adopt the Noongar names: Boydjil (White-breasted); Koobar (Scarlet) and Bamborn (Western Yellow). The White-breasted and Western Yellow are both endemic to southwestern Australia.

The White-breasted Robin is probably the most numerous and is found mainly in the understorey of Karri forest, but also occurs in other eucalypt forests and the coastal heath. The male and female of this species are similar to one another. Like all robins, the White-breasted Robin is insectivorous, its preferred hunting method is to find an open perch and use its keen eyesight to spot prey, then swoop-down to capture it in its pointed bill, which is equipped with a small hook at the end to help secure the prey.

The male Scarlet Robin is a striking bird with a deep orange rather than scarlet breast and belly and a black head and back with a white forehead and barring on its wings. The female is somewhat paler with a brown back and head and a pale orange breast. It inhabits more open country, farmland, parkland or partially cleared bush-blocks. It often favours hunting along fence lines, perching on posts or wire.

The Western Yellow Robin is the most seldom seen around Denmark, the sexes are similar, it is a beautiful bird, with grey back and head, white throat and yellow belly and lower breast. It generally inhabits open woodland, where it can perch to survey the ground for insects.

All three species build neat cup-shaped nests, generally located in the vertical fork of a small tree. Usually two eggs are laid which are incubated for about two weeks and the chicks fledge after two to three weeks. In favourable seasons often two clutches may be raised.

White-breasted Robin
Scarlet Robin
Western Yellow Robin