Here in Southland, you might encounter both the Kakaruai/South Island robin, also known as the South Island tomtit or the Toutouwai/Stewart Island Robin, a subspecies.

As you may have guessed, the Stewart Island robin is found exclusively on Rakiura Stewart Island. The South Island robin is more commonly seen around the South Island, inhabiting a range of forested habitats, including native forests, scrublands and subalpine areas. They are often seen in the understory, hopping along the forest floor or perched on low branches. These inquisitive wee fellas are always happy to join you on a walk as humans expose food for them as they move.

These charismatic birds are dedicated when it comes to finding a partner; to attract a female, bachelors will sing a song lasting up to thirty minutes. They are monogamous and form long-term pair bonds and both parents are involved in feeding and raising their chicks. There are many chances to be serenaded by a robin in Southland as they are common in many forested areas. Look out for their distinctive white chests!

Read more on the kakaruai here.

Learn more about other birds in Southland: