Flame Robin (Petroica Phoenicea)

Male Flame Robin

This Photo by JJ Harrison (https://www.jjharrison.com.au/), CC BY-SA 4.0

The Flame robin has been sighted in the MacDonald’s ‘Witches Garden’ on Watchingora/Callaghan’s creek road, around Tallandoon and up Scrubby Creek near Hodgkin’s property.


The Flame robin is the largest of the red robins. Male Flame robins have a brilliant red-orange breast and throat and a white patch on the forehead above the bill. Its upper parts are iron grey with white bars and its tail is black with white tips. The bill is black, and the legs are dark brown The female coloration is a muted grey-brown with pale buff wing stripe and mostly white outer tail feather. When calling Flame robins emit a cheery, clear, sharp piping trill.

The male Flame robin may be confused with the male Scarlet robin but this species is black above and on the head extending to the throat with a scarlet breast and upper belly.

This Photo by JJ Harrison is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0


The Flame robin is found in temperate regions of south-eastern Australia and all over Tasmania. They are winter visitors to the lowlands in south-eastern Australia. In the warmer months they breed in upland forests laying their eggs in finely woven nests decorated with lichen. As Autumn approaches most move to lower elevations where they are often conspicuous in open habitats such as farmland especially pasture and recently ploughed paddocks. They also occur in other grassy areas such as golf courses, ovals, or parkland in built up areas. They usually return to breeding areas in the mountains in August or September.


The Flame robin is a perch and pounce hunter mainly eating insects and often returning to a favourite low perch several times to stand erect and motionless, scanning the leaf litter for more prey. They often forage in scattered flocks in winter but are otherwise seen alone or in pairs.

The Flame robin may lay up to two clutches of 3 or 4 eggs during the breeding season which is between August and January. The eggs lay pale green or blue eggs with spotted marks. The nest is built by the female and is normally placed in a tree or rock face or other similar area up to 20 m above the ground. The female incubates the eggs while the male supplies her with food. Both sexes feed the young chicks. Flame robins are generally monogamous and remain together unless one bird perishes.


The Flame robins have a secure conservation status in Victoria.


Field Guide to Australian Birds-Michael Morcombe

Birdlife Australia Magazine

Online source. Wikipedia

This Photo by Birdlife.org.au

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