Pink Robin at Bendigo

Subject: Pink Robin at Bendigo
Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 11:03:58 +1100

G'day all,

A week or so ago, I reported seeing an adult male Pink Robin in box-ironbark
forest south of Bendigo in the Mandurang State Forest (an unusual record with
most migrating birds being 'brown birds').  Below are some further comments on
that initial observation, and details of subsequent observations, which may be
of interest to some readers.

When I first saw the bird, it was chased then chasing a male Flame Robin.  I
instantly identified it as a Pink Robin - bright pink extending right down to
below the abdomen, no white edging to the tail and black rather than charcoal
upperparts.  It was quite convincingly a Pink Robin - a new bird for me.  What
was interesting however, was its foraging behaviour.   I have seen both male and
female Rose Robins on several previous occasions, including wintering birds in
the Bendigo district.   This Pink Robin was foraging just like a Rose -
similarly to what I have witnessed and just like it says in the books (Rose are
considered the most arboreal of the 'red' robins).  When I say foraging like a
Rose, I mean it was up as high as 15-16 metres, and erratically flitting about
the canopy of Grey and Yellow Box trees.  Just seconds later however, it was
down on the ground and perching and feeding amongst the stems and branches of
the dense and shrubby understorey of Drooping Cassinia and Spreading Wattle
(much like an Eastern Yellow Robin, and just as the guides state for Pink

The next day, I went back to the same spot, and got even better views than the
initial observation.  I went there twice on the same day (first at about 0800h,
then later at around 1400h).  I quickly located the bird both times, and it was
foraging solely down low amongst the understorey - typical Pink Robin behaviour.

This morning, between 0730-0830h, I again observed the robin, and it had
reverted to it's 'old' behaviour - a combination of canopy foraging and seconds
later, ground feeding and perching sideways on low stumps and trunks amongst
dense understorey.  I think the behaviour of these migratory birds changes a
great deal.  OK, the field guides say that they typically feed amongst dense low
understorey, and I'm sure they do in their 'normal' breeding range, but on
migration their behaviour must surely change, probably as a result of the
dramatic changes in habitat they are using (ie. rainforest gullies vs dry open
box-ironbark forest).  This morning, I watched the bird from as close as 3
metres, and could even hear its sharp single noted 'tick' call.

It is a fantastic birding spot - this morning I obtained a list of 41 species
within an hour, including Diamond Firetail, Crested Bellbird and Swift Parrot.


Chris Tzaros

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