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19

Eastern Yellow Robin

(Eopsaltria australis)
Alternate name(s): "Bark Robin", "Creek Robin", "Yellow Bob", "Southern Yellow Robin", "Northern Yellow Robin"
Size: 15-16 cm
Weight: 19 g (average)

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Eastern Yellow Robin at Wikipedia .

Click here for classification information

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Not the photos you want? Or are you after even better quality? Have a look here .

Race "australis"

ADULT

Adult Eastern Yellow Robin, race "australis", on its nest (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, September 2012]

Eastern Yellow Robin, race "australis", on its nest (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Near Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, September 2014]

Eastern Yellow Robin bringing food for its chicks (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2014]

Eastern Yellow Robin bringing food for its chicks (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2014]

Eastern Yellow Robin removing a chick's discharge to keep the nest clean (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2014]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a fledgling Eastern Yellow Robin that does not have tail feathers yet (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, October 2015]

Lateral view of a fledgling Eastern Yellow Robin, here seen stretching its wings (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, October 2015]

Near-dorsal view of a fledgling Eastern Yellow Robin (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, October 2015]

Race "chrysorrhoa"

ADULT

Frontal portrait of an adult Eastern Yellow Robin
[O'Reilly's Plateau, Lamington NP, Gold Coast, QLD, May 2014]

Frontal view of an Eastern Yellow Robin
[Gibraltar Range NP, NSW, October 2007]

Near-frontal view of an Eastern Yellow Robin (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Near-frontal view of an Eastern Yellow Robin
[Near Barraba, NSW, July 2007]

Near-lateral view of an Eastern Yellow Robin
[Gibraltar Range NP, NSW, October 2007]

Lateral portrait of an Eastern Yellow Robin
[O'Reilly's Plateau, Lamington NP, Gold Coast, QLD, May 2014]

Lateral view of an Eastern Yellow Robin (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[O'Reilly's Plateau, Gold Coast, QLD, August 2013]

Lateral view of an Eastern Yellow Robin showing very prominently the bright-yellow rump giving race "chrysorrhoa" its name (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Near Kyogle, NSW, July 2013]

Lateral view of an Eastern Yellow Robin (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, July 2017]

Lateral view of an Eastern Yellow Robin "Jumping Jack Flash" (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Auburn River NP, QLD, October 2013]

Near-dorsal view of an Eastern Yellow Robin
[Dorrigo NP, NSW, January 2011]

Dorsal view of an Eastern Yellow Robin
[Cranky Rock Recreation Reserve, near Warialda, NSW, July 2016]

Pair of Eastern Yellow Robins hunting off a tree trunk
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, November 2015]

Eastern Yellow Robin a few metres up in an ironbark eucalypt; this is the bird whose "chop-chop" calls were recorded by us on 21 July 2014
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2014]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Sub-adult Eastern Yellow Robin on a tree trunk
[Yarrie Lake, NSW, April 2017]

Immature Eastern Yellow Robin hanging on to the bark of a tree while looking for prey
[Dorrigo NP, NSW, February 2012]

The Eastern Yellow Robin's yellow rump is also visible here
[Dorrigo NP, NSW, February 2012]

Twitcher's tip

Eastern Yellow Robins are the birds with the most varied plumages while maturing (and probably the most scruffy-looking immature birds in the Australian bird world...). Various colour schemes can be seen in the photos below that are sorted approximately in an inverse sequence with age.

A comparison with the photo at the top of this page and the photo just below this one shows how the "collar" just under the grey chin patch is the first part of the breast plumage to develop the characteristic bright-yellow hue
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, November 2008]

Here a somewhat younger immature Eastern Yellow Robin that has only a few specks left in its now almost entirely yellow breast plumage

This Eastern Yellow Robin looks particularly ragged (photo courtesy of C. Kellenberg)

As the Eastern Yellow Robin shown above, this one still has some remnant brown plumage around its eyes and on its crown
[Dorrigo NP, NSW, February 2012]

This mottled Eastern Yellow Robin is in the process of moulting into its adult plumage
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, October 2008]

Immature Eastern Yellow Robin with a yellow chin patch
[Leard State Forest, NSW, November 2014]

Immature Eastern Yellow Robin hiding amongst shrubs; one can see that the belly is starting to turn yellow, while the rest is still speckled with grey and looking ragged because the bird is moulting
[January 2006]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jun - Jan Eggs: 2 - 3 Incubation period: 14 - 20 days Fledging age: 12 - 22 days

Given the right conditions, Eastern Yellow Robins can breed almost any time of the year, with the exception of April.

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Basket Material: Bark, grass, webs, moss Height above ground: 1 - 6 m

Eastern Yellow Robin, race "australis", on its nest (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Near Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, September 2014]

Eastern Yellow Robin, race "australis", on its nest (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, September 2012]

Eastern Yellow Robin, race "chrysorrhoa", on its nest (photo courtesy of I. Duncan)
[South West Rocks, NSW, September 2012]

Eastern Yellow Robin, race "chrysorrhoa", on its nest in temperate rainforest - note how this nest differs from others made in drier habitats; this is the bird whose warning calls were recorded on 22 September 2016
[Dorrigo NP, NSW, September 2016]

This Eastern Yellow Robin nest was found only 30 cm off the ground in the first major fork of a Cassinia shrub (photo courtesy of J. Drewit)
[15 km West of Armidale, NSW, November 2014]

Three Eastern Yellow Robin chicks in their nest (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2014]

Eastern Yellow Robin bringing food for its chicks (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2014]

Eastern Yellow Robin bringing food for its chicks (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2014]

Eastern Yellow Robin chicks (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, August 2016]

Eastern Yellow Robin removing a chick's discharge to keep the nest clean (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2014]

One Eastern Yellow Robin (male?) feeding its partner (the female?) who is brooding young chicks (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, August 2016]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 22 x 16 mm Colour: Blueish-grey, sparsely speckled with brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary Elementary unit: Pair

The ease with which Eastern Yellow Robins can be observed comes at a price. In dense underbrush Eastern Yellow Robins are used by other bird species as "sentries". When their alarm call is heard, other birds will leave the area or hide in the underbrush.

One peculiarity that we noticed in May of 2006 is that Eastern Yellow Robins came to take a bath at our place late after sunset, in the last twilight of the day, when most other birds had already settled on their roosts.

And, incredibly, in a stand-off between a Willie Wagtail and an Eastern Yellow Robin over the rights to their favourite hunting ground, the latter came out on top!

Usually Eastern Yellow Robins are found near the ground, hunting from perches that are typically less than 3 m high. However, occasionally we have seen them high up in eucalypt trees, at 10-20 m above ground.

At Dorrigo National Park we observed Eastern Yellow Robins that followed larger birds working through leaf litter (such as Superb Lyrebirds and Australian Brush-Turkeys) and then opportunistically picked their prey out of the dugouts.

R. Plumtree reports observing a brooding Eastern Yellow Robin swallowing a sac with poo of one of the chicks, rather than disposing of it.

Eastern Yellow Robins usually hunt in underbrush (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[O'Reilly's Plateau, Gold Coast, QLD, August 2013]

Eastern Yellow Robins usually hunt in underbrush, e.g. along rivers and creeks, but venture out into more open areas, too, e.g. around rockpools
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, April 2013]

Distant view of an Eastern Yellow Robins taking a bath in a rockpool
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, April 2013]

Just like other robins, Eastern Yellow Robins tend to let their wings droop and also cock their tails
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, July 2013]

Eastern Yellow Robin hunting off a low perch (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Terry Hie Hie, NSW, March 2014]

Food, Diet

Adults: Small insects Dependents: As adults Water intake: Daily

Like all other robins (all families), Eastern Yellow Robins are flycatchers. Most robins hunt for insects from low to mid-level perches.

Eastern Yellow Robin with its prey, a juicy worm (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[O'Reilly's Plateau, Lamington NP, QLD, May 2014]

This Eastern Yellow Robin has found a larva
[Dorrigo NP, NSW, March 2015]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

The call marked as "Territorial call?" below, including modulations in both pitch and amplitude, lasted a total of 3.5 minutes (210 seconds). Only part of it is reproduced here.

eyelrob_20140110.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(NW NSW)
Contact calls © MD
eyelrob_20140622_4.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(NW NSW)
"Chop-chop" territorial call © MD
eyelrob_20141016.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(NW NSW)
"Chop-chop" territorial calls © MD
eyelrob_20141023_2.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(NW NSW)
"Chop-chop" territorial calls Q&A © MD
eyelrob_20140129.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(NW NSW)
Territorial call? (total 3.5 min) © MD
eyelrob_20160505.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(NW NSW)
Territorial call? (break of dawn) © MD
eyelrob_20140115.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(NW NSW)
Warning calls © MD
eyelrob_20141119.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(NW NSW)
Warning calls (pair with juveniles) © MD
eyelrob_20160922.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(NW NSW)
Warning calls? (female? on nest) © MD
eyelrob_20160406_2.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(NW NSW)
Alarm calls © MD
eyelrob_art_20131125.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(SE QLD)
Alarm calls © ART
eyelrob_20141023.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(NW NSW)
Annoyed © MD
eyelrob_20160505_2.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(NW NSW)
? (suspicious) © MD
eyelrob_20151004.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(NW NSW)
? (at nightfall) © MD
eyelrob_20140313.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(NW NSW)
? © MD
Click here for more recordings

We have also recorded an Eastern Yellow Robin's wing beat.

eyelrob_20160406.mp3 chrysorrhoa
(N NSW)
Low flight © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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