We have seen plenty of bird life around on our rain forest walk out on Lake Mapourika these past few weeks. One bird in particular is the very friendly South Island Robin who loves the camera!
The South Island Robin is a sparrow-sized bird, only found in New Zealand. It has the status of a protected endemic species. The birds are sparsely distributed through the South Island and Stewart Island/Rakiura, although the distribution is not continuous. The species is closely related to the North Island robin and also to the extremely rare black robin of the Chatham Islands.
Robins have long legs and are recognized by their stance. Adult Male South Island Robins are mainly dark grey in colour, with a white chest and belly.
Males have a sharp demarcation between black and white on their chest. Adult females are light to dark grey over the upper body, they are different to males as the white chest-belly area is smaller and doesn’t have such a distinct demarcation between grey and white feathering.
The South Island Robin’s diet mostly consists of Invertebrates, including earthworm and beetles. During the summer months they like to prey on the cicadas. As they have an excellent memory, storing their food is very common. During the winter months the South Island Robin spends as much as 90% of their day foraging or storing food.
New Zealand Robins are relatively long-lived. Often with life-spans of up to 14 years. Its strongholds in the South Island are Marlborough, Nelson and the West Coast.