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Eastern yellow robin,
Australian National Botanic Gardens
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Petroicidae
Genus: Eopsaltria
Swainson, 1832
Type species
Motacilla australis[1]
Shaw, 1790

see text

Eopsaltria is a genus of small forest passerines known in Australia as the yellow robins. They belong to the Australasian robin family Petroicidae. The name is derived from the Ancient Greek for "dawn singer/song" because of their dawn chorus. They are inquisitive and bold birds, and have been reported perching on the shoulders or boots of people in the bush. Open eucalyptus woodlands are their preferred habitat.[2] The ornithologist John Gould likened the behaviour and mannerisms of the eastern and western yellow robin to those of the European robin. The name "yellow robin" itself was applied to the eastern yellow robin by the early settlers of New South Wales.[3]

Taxonomy and systematics

The ornithologist William John Swainson named the genus Eopsaltria in 1832, placing into it the bird that was then known as the yellow-breasted thrush (Pachycephala australis).[4] Two species are currently classified within the genus: the eastern and western yellow robins, which have been alternately classified as a single species by Julian Ford since 1979 on account of similarities in their calls and behaviour.[5] The eastern yellow robin itself was historically split into two species, the northern populations were given the name northern yellow robin (E. chrysorrhoa) while the remaining groups were known as the southern yellow robin.[6]

Another species, the mangrove robin Peneoenanthe pulverulenta was often included in this genus. Although its plumage resembled that of the white-breasted robin, DNA analysis revealed it should be classified as a member of the New Guinea genus Peneothello.[7]

Previously the two members of the genus Tregellasia were included in this genus; the pale-yellow robin (Tregellasia capito) and white-faced robin (T. leucops). The yellow-bellied flyrobin (Microeca flaviventris) of New Caledonia was previously classified in this genus as it had similar plumage, but a genetic analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA has placed it in the genus Microeca. Its nest and eggs resemble those of members of Microeca rather than Eopsaltria. The same study placed the white-breasted robin as sister taxon to the two Tregellasia robins and proposed the genus be sunk once again into Eopsaltria.[7]

Extant species

The genus contains the following two species:[8]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Eopsaltria australis Eastern yellow robin Coastal and sub-coastal eastern Australia
Eopsaltria griseogularis Western yellow robin South-western Western Australia

Former species

Formerly, some authorities also considered the following species (or subspecies) as species within the genus Eopsaltria:


  1. ^ "Pectroicidae". The Trust for Avian Systematics. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  2. ^ Wade Peter (ed.) (1977). Every Australian Bird Illustrated. Rigby. p. 215. ISBN 0-7270-0009-8.
  3. ^ Gould, John (1865). Handbook to The birds of Australia, Volume 1. self. pp. 293–94.
  4. ^ Swainson, William John; Richardson, J. (1831). Fauna boreali-americana, or, The zoology of the northern parts of British America. Vol. Part 2. The Birds. London: J. Murray. pp. 492–493. The title page bears the year 1831 but the volume did not appear until 1832.
  5. ^ Ford, Julian (1979). "Speciation or Subspeciation in the Yellow Robins?". Emu. 79 (3): 103–06. Bibcode:1979EmuAO..79..103F. doi:10.1071/mu9790103.
  6. ^ Slater, Peter (1974). A Field Guide to Australian Birds:Non-passerines. Adelaide: Rigby. pp. 174–75. ISBN 0-85179-813-6.
  7. ^ a b Loynes, Kate; Joseph, Leo; Keogh, J. Scott (2009). "Multi-locus phylogeny clarifies the systematics of the Australo-Papuan robins (Family Petroicidae, Passeriformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 53 (1): 212–19. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.05.012. PMID 19463962.
  8. ^ "Australasian robins, rockfowl, rockjumpers & Rail-babbler « IOC World Bird List". Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  9. ^ "Pachycephala griseiceps sudestensis - Avibase". Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  10. ^ "Pachycephala chlorura cucullata - Avibase". Retrieved 2017-02-04.
  11. ^ Gray, George Robert (1859-01-01). Catalogue of the Birds of the Tropical Islands of the Pacific Ocean. Taylor & Francis.
  12. ^ "Pachycephala flavifrons - Avibase". Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  13. ^ Mayr, Ernst; Cottrell, G. William, eds. (1986). Check-list of Birds of the World. Vol. 11. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 573.
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