Scarlet Robin

Photo of male Scarlet Robin

Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Dabb

The Conservator for Flora and Fauna has prepared an action plan to guide the protection and conservation of the Scarlet Robin, which was declared a vulnerable species in May 2015 under the Nature Conservation Act 1980.

The primary objective of the action plan is to maintain, for the long term, a viable, wild population of the species as a component of the indigenous biological resources of the ACT.

The ACT Flora and Fauna Committee identified the Scarlet Robin as vulnerable, meaning the species is at risk of premature extinction in the ACT region in the next 25–50 years. This is indicated by a current serious population decline, based on historic and current records.  The Scarlet Robin is also listed as vulnerable in surrounding NSW.

The Canberra Ornithologists Group’s Woodland Bird Monitoring Project documented the decline in the ACT and this decline has been confirmed through further research by an Australian National University PhD scholar who made an independent analysis of data collected at 92 woodland sites over 14 years by the Canberra Ornithologists Group.

The Scarlet Robin lives in dry eucalypt forests and woodlands. The understorey is usually open and grassy with a few scattered shrubs.  Important parts of its habitat include abundant logs and fallen timber.  The birds forage from low perches, fence posts or on the ground, from where they pounce on small insects and other invertebrates which are taken from the ground, or off tree trunks and logs.

The Scarlet Robin breeds on ridges, hills and foothills of the western slopes, the Great Dividing Range and eastern coastal regions.  Pairs of birds defend their breeding territory and may raise two or three broods of chicks in the July to January breeding season.

Adult and immature birds descend from the forested slopes into the more open valleys around Canberra in autumn, when they sometimes appear in suburban gardens. They return to their breeding territories in the higher altitude open forests and woodlands in March.

This species was assessed and listed as vulnerable under the Nature Conservation Act 1980, which was repealed with the introduction of the Nature Conservation Act 2014. All species listed under the 1980 Act are now listed under the 2014 Act.  

The scientific name of the Scarlet Robin changed from Petroica multicolour to Petroica boodang following advice from the Scientific Committee based on a recent DNA-based molecular study of the species and a published revision of the taxonomy of Australian passerine bird species. This change took effect in ACT legislation on 30 May 2016.

An action plan has been prepared for the Scarlet Robin.  

More information on the Scarlet Robin can be found on the Canberra Ornithologists Group website.

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage also provides information on the Scarlet Robin.

For further information:


Call 13 22 81