Fun Black Robin Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Black Robin facts are super fun to read

The black robin (Petroica traversi) is a small bird endemic to the country of New Zealand.

This species can only be found in Chatham islands where a very small population exists due to their steadily dwindling populations because of newly introduced predators like cats and rats. This is an adorable brownish black bird species known to be slightly hunched when they perch.

Originally from the Little Mangere Island, an island which is a part of Chatham Islands, the black robin population consists of 230 mature individuals spread across Mangere Island and South East Island now.

The black robin themselves and the New Zealand Wildlife Service have definitely given a lot of effort to bring these birds back from the brink of extinction.

The population of these birds had decreased to five individuals and if not for the efforts of Mr. Don Merton, they would be extinct by now.

However, black robins are very interesting, the members of this species possess barely any genetic variation with the other black robins.

This is due to the very rare event of every black robin being related to a single female black robin named "Old Blue" and her story is quite tragic as she was the last remaining fertile female who saved the population along with a male named "Old Yellow".

Most of the black robins of the Mangere island descended from Old Blue and are known to be one of the rarest birds of New Zealand.

If you enjoy reading facts about birds, you can definitely check out these umbrellabird facts and swallow facts!

Black Robin Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black robin?

The black robin is a type of bird from the genus Petroica, belonging to the family Petroicidae. It is native to the Chatham Islands in New Zealand and is often referred to as the Chatham Island robin.

What class of animal does a black robin belong to?

The black bobin or the Chatham Island robin is a type of bird from the class of Aves. This class of brownish-black birds from New Zealand is critically endangered.

How many black robins are there in the world?

Black robins are critically endangered and have gone extinct in the Chatham Islands in New Zealand, which is their native place of origin.

However, Little Mangere Island is known to be home to only 250 - 300 black Robins in the world.

In 1980, there were only five black robins alive in the world till they started successfully repopulating by being kept under strict measures like re-planting trees in the forest, introducing foster methods by putting their eggs in the nests of tomtit birds, and also because of inbreeding among males and females.

The newly repopulated black robin population from the Mangere island and Chathan island are known to have descended from the pair of two named Old Blue and her mate Old Yellow.

Where does a black robin live?

Black robins are the native species of Chatham Island of New Zealand, which is their original habitat. They prefer inhabiting woodland areas with green vegetation and are known to live in the forested islands of the archipelago: Chatham, Rangatira Island, Pitt, Mangere, as well as Little Mangere.

What is a black robin's habitat?

The species of robin bird prefer a forested habitat and woodlands with low-lying branches and tree canopies which protect them from strong winds. Unlike the mainland robin bird, black robin bird can thrive well amongst green vegetation without the threat of fatal diseases and predators.

Who do black robins live with?

Males and females of this bird species are known to mate for life and hence usually live in a pair after breeding and after having laid their eggs in their nests. After their eggs hatch, the parents usually take care of their hatchlings for a period of 28 days till the newborns leave their nests.

How long does a black robin live?

Under favorable circumstances and proper habitat that has fewer predators, the black robins can live up to the age of 6-14 years.

How do they reproduce?

Black robins start breeding when they reach two years of age and mate for life. The female makes the nest where the eggs are laid and incubated by her and the male takes up the role of feeding the female and the babies.

They usually lay one egg to three eggs but are typically known to lay two eggs at a time. Their eggs are cream-colored and have purple-colored splotches.

After they hatch, the young robins leave the nest after they reach the age of 23 days after hatching. Most black robins today descended from Old Blue.

What is their conservation status?

Black robins are known to be threatened creatures. Having been brought to near extinction because of predators brought in by the human populations as well as human interference.

The black robin population was saved by Don Merton and his team.

It is quite an interesting story where Merton and his team found the last fertile female named Old Blue who was paired up with a male named Old Yellow. Together, they repopulated the entire species through inbreeding, foster parenting with tomtit birds, and were moved from Chatham island to Mangere Island which was replanted with green low-lying vegetation.

Black Robin Fun Facts

What do black robins look like?

The black robin is a small round bird that is closely related to its mainland counterpart, the New Zealand robin. It is fairly small reaching the length of 6 in (15 cm). They have brownish-black plumes, a black bill, and a strong pair of yellow-soled feet to help them hunt for food in the low-lying areas of the forest.

Black robin facts are interesting

How cute are they?

Black robins are exceptionally cute because of their distinctive hunched appearance and despite their dark-colored plumes, they appear to be quite attractive.

How do they communicate?

Black robins usually communicate through bird songs or calls which consist of a single high-pitched note.

How big is a black robin?

The size is another easy method of identification of this black bird. The size of a robin from this family can range between 3.9–5.9 in (10-15 cm). Compared to the American robin, observed to be anywhere between 9-11 in (22.8-28 cm) in length, black robins are almost half as small.

How fast can a black robin fly?

The exact speed of their flight is unknown. However, black robins cannot fly for a long period of time or cover long distances.

How much does a black robin weigh?

Black robins are relatively small birds and their weight can range between 0.7-0.8 oz (19.8-22.6 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no distinctive term to differentiate between males and females of this species of birds. They are generally referred to as male black robins and female black robins.

What would you call a baby black robin?

Baby black robins do not have any specific name. They are usually called hatchlings after they hatch.

What do they eat?

Their feet are strong and built to hunt close to the ground for food. They mainly feed on insects like flies making them primarily insectivorous. They love to eat critters like worms and cockroaches.

Are they poisonous?

No. Black robins are harmless and not poisonous at all.

Would they make a good pet?

Small birds like robins, similar to sparrows will not make good pets despite how cute and adorable they are in appearance. They would not thrive well in captivity and in cages and belong in forested areas with lots of greenery.

Did you know...

It is a well-known fact that black robin hatchlings leave the nests after 28 days. However, the parents, still feed them food till they become 65 days old. This is quite an uncommon trait seen among birds and is noticed predominantly in this species of birds.

Why are black robins also called Chatham Island robins?

The distinctive feature of the robins' black plumes is the reason they have their name. Despite currently populating only the Menagere Islands, this species of birds are also called Chatham Island robins because they primarily originated from the Chatham Islands in New Zealand.

Are Black robins endangered?

This species is critically endangered.

Initially, when they inhabited Chatham islands, their population rapidly dwindled due to human interference as well as the introduction of predators like cats and rats which proved to be fatal for their survival and almost led to their extinction.

They were repopulated by Don Merton and his team of Wildlife conservation service who helped their populations grow by breeding two of the last remaining birds called Old Blue and Old Yellow. Then they helped relocate this species to the Mangere islands where they were breeding amongst themselves and hence slowly grew in numbers.

Methods like foster parenthood by putting black robin eggs in the nest of tomtit birds, re-planting trees in the forest, and green vegetation helped increase the populations of the birds and save them from the brink of extinction.

Even if there are nearly 250 - 300 black robins surviving safely in the forest of the Mangere islands of New Zealand, they are still a threatened species of birds.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these eastern kingbird facts and hyacinth macaw facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable black robin coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

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Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

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Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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