Re: birding-aus Red-capped robins

Subject: Re: birding-aus Red-capped robins
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 10:13:10 +1000

Merrilyn, This is very unusual, of course, but not the first time.  A male
inhabited the vicinity of Wirrawilla rainforest (a wet fern gully with cool
temperate rainforest) in February and March 1981 (another very dry period in SE
Australia), feeding mainly from gravel tracks and a disused quarry.  It was seen
by Dale Tonkinson on 7/2/81 and myself and others on 13/3/81 (see Emu 85),
looking quite out of place in that habitat where Pink and Rose Robins are common
and Flame Robins breed mainly in open areas such as recent logging coupes.
Interestingly, Scarlet Robins have never been seen in Mountain Ash forests there
(or elsewhere, to my knowledge) even though they are breeding residents in
slightly drier Messmate forest only a few km away near Toolangi town.  It seems
that Scarlet Robins have a much stronger aversion to entering wet forest than do
Red-capped Robins, probably because Scarlet Robins need year-round territories
and know that wet forests are unsuitable in winter.  Red-capped Robins wandering
during dry summers may not know this, or may be prepared to move on in winter.
Red-capped Robins turn up occasionally in wet Mountain Ash forest at Sherbrooke
(see Vic Bird Reports), and again I know of no records of Scarlet Robin there
although they inhabit drier forest nearby.

Your record is of special interst as it concerns a pair, and it would be very
interesting to know if they attempt to breed.

Cheers, Richard.

Richard Loyn
Wildlife Research, Arthur Rylah Institute, NRE, Victoria.

 on 09/12/99 14:19:32

cc:    (bcc: Richard Loyn/NRE)
Subject:  birding-aus Red-capped robins

Hi all
Saw a pair of Red-capped Robins in Toolangi State Forest (Vic Central
Highlands) on Tuesday 7th Dec.  They were in a small dead tree on the
edge of a coupe which looked like it had been logged no more than one
year ago and not far from a coupe last logged 13 years ago. Some
regrowth from the 1939 fires was also nearby.  This was a few hundred
metres north up Woodmore Track from Siberia Junction.
Presumably it is unusual to find them in or near Mountain Ash forests,
though it is very dry there at present.  Has anyone else seen Red-capped
Robins in this area?

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