Questions on Norfolk Island taxonomy

Subject: Questions on Norfolk Island taxonomy
From: "Peter Ewin" <>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 09:58:07 +1000
Like all taxonomy questions it depends who you listen to.

HANZAB still lists the Scarlet Robin as one species as P. multicolor, with the nominate on Norflok,

If you are wanting to count this as a species on your Australian List for the "official" twiching list, then you can not, because Christidis & Boles (ie Birds Australia) don't list it - whether their update will include it I don't know.

The recent Howard and Moore checklist lists Pacific Robin as a separate species, though Dick Schodde was used as the consultant for Oceania species in this book.

However, the recent publication "CSIRO List of Australian Vertebrates. A Reference with Conservation Status." (Clayton, Wombey, Mason, Chesser and Wells 2006) do list the Pacific Robin as a separate species. This may be well because Schodde and Mason also work for CSIRO and so they follow the taxomony in their work. The significance of this list is that CSIRO works closely with the Australian Biological Resource Study (ABRS) who assign the species codes (Census of Australian Vertebrate Species) that are used by Environment Australia (such as the Banding Scheme), state government (NPWS in NSW uses the CAVS codes for the Atlas of NSW Wildlife) and by NGOs (the Species Codes used in the Atlas by Birds Australia are originally derived from CAVS). In the future I assume the Pacific Robin will be the officially recognised taxa for Norfolk Island, with Petroica boodang (Scarlet Robin) the mainland species.

However, as I say it depends which list you use. I personally use the CAVS list as it is linked to my work database, so I have the Pacific Robin on my list. Otherwise count all subspecies, and your list rapidly starts to increase.


From: "Alan Benson" <>
To: "'Birding-Aus'" <>
Subject: [birding-aus] Questions on Norfolk Island taxonomy
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 20:41:35 +1000

I'm curious about the status of the "Scarlet Robin" on Norfolk Island.
The archives reveal some discussion in 2000 of Schodde and Mason
classifying the Pacific Robin as Petroica Multicolor and the Australian
species as Petroica Boodang. My questions are:

1/ Has this taxonomy been accepted?

2/ Is the Scarlet Robin on Norfolk (or it is likely to become) the
Pacific Robin?

Any information, comment or opinion is welcome.

The Feral Chickens on Norfolk are interesting. All the roosters I saw
conformed to the Red Junglefowl characteristic while over 90% of the
hens were pure black. While this is not as shown in Pizzey as a Red
Junglefowl hen, there was much more uniformity in colour type on Norfolk
than I saw in the Feral Chicken population on Christmas Island. Does
this indicate that the Feral Chicken population of Norfolk has reverted
to contain more characteristics of the original ancestor?


Allan Benson

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