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Habitat Ecology Information

What’s Lurking In Your Backyard? – #39 Eastern Yellow Robin

This series looks at the variety of fauna that may be found in the suburban backyard or local reserve and the diversity may be surprising to some people. The obvious fauna are the vast array of birds that are readily seen by day and some by night, but there are numerous species that are nocturnal. Some of these nocturnal species people are familiar with as they tramp across the roof at night with what sounds like hobnail boots on, or they hear fighting in the backyard over food and territory. Others are cryptic and may only be seen infrequently when they enter the house for warmth and shelter. Each week or so I will highlight a different species that may be found in and around Melbourne’s  backyards, parks and reserves, some may be familiar others less so.

#39 Eastern Yellow Robin

(Eopsaltria australia)

This is one of my favorite birds having been entranced by its antics as a teenager whilst I was playing in the bush. Its habit of resting horizontally of tree trunks, dashing to the ground to pick up insects and flit back to the tree/shrub branches kept me amused during our encounters. This pouncing habit being its main way of catching food, they may also be found undertaking this behaviour close to people during activities in the bush or around their properties were they are turning over or disturbing the mulch layers or cutting wood.

This is a small bird or medium sized for a robin. The head and back are greyish in colour with a yellow underbelly which may vary depending on the location. Under the bill the throat is an off white colour and a pale off white wing bar. The bill is black. Both sexes are the same colour and patterning, however the female is smaller in size. Their diet consists of spiders, insects and other arthropods mostly caught during their pouncing from a low perch. They may also scavenge scraps from around picnic areas.

Breeding occurs between July and January with a nest being constructed by the female. The nest is a woven cup made from a variety of materials including bark, grass and twigs with spider webs and hair being utilised to line and bind the nest together. Nest are usually located in fork in the lower part of a tree or shrub. Clutch size is usually two and both parents feed the young but only the female incubates the chicks.

The habitat for this species varies from forest and woodland to rainforests with their range extending along the east coast of Australia from Cooktown in Queensland to Adelaide in South Australia and to some distance inland.

Conservation Status in Victoria: “Secure”

Habitat Ecology 2021


Birdlife Australia:

Australian Museum: