Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Robbed of its Glory: Conservation action for the Hooded Robin 

Posted on 31 October, 2023 by Anna

Three of our region’s beloved Feathered Five are now listed under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. We have partnered with BirdLife Castlemaine District to deliver a series of blog posts describing these species, why they are threatened, and what we can do to support the conservation of these species into the future. In this blog post, we briefly summarise the conservation advice for the Hooded Robin (click here), the causes of its decline, and what you can do to help it. To read an insightful ‘Bird of the Month” about this species, written by our amazing partners at BirdLife Castlemaine District, click here.  

Habitat and threats: Hooded Robin (Melanodryas cucullata)

Hooded Robins occur in eucalypt and acacia woodlands and shrublands with an open understory, some grassy areas and a complex ground layer. They will use small patches of around 3 hectares but prefer larger patches of more than 10 hectares. Important habitat elements include mature eucalypts, saplings, some small shrubs and a ground layer of moderately tall native grasses. Trees and tree stumps are essential for nesting, roosting and foraging. They occur where there is deep to moderately deep soil, rocks, and fallen timber, which provides essential foraging habitat. The Robin hunts with a ‘perch and pounce’ technique – a bit like a kookaburra. This means they need multiple stumps and trees for perches and open grassy areas to pounce into. They eat insects, small lizards, and invertebrates. The species is typically found in pairs or small groups and is shy, and largely sedentary.

A pair of Hooded Robins (female lower) (photo by Geoff Park)

Key threats:  

  • Habitat fragmentation and clearing, 
  • Extreme events (wildfire, heatwave, and drought),  
  • Overgrazing by domestic livestock,  
  • Noisy Miner competition,  
  • Invasive weeds,  
  • Predation by cats and foxes,  
  • Browsing pressure from rabbits and deer,  
  • Firewood collection and ‘tidying’ of farmlands, and  
  • Inappropriate fire regimes.  

This species is listed as ‘Endangered’. Its population has declined by > 50% in the last ten years. 

Some ways you can help Hooded Robins: 

  • Retain native vegetation, particularly that with a diverse but variable structure, in order to maximise foraging opportunities. i.e. habitat needs perches and open areas for foraging  
  • Undertake revegetation, focusing on connecting and expanding habitat and widening corridors. 
  • Replace trees from where they have been removed.   
  • Focus on productive lower parts of the landscapes, especially near streams. Aim for plantings of at least 50 m wide.  
  • Promote connectivity and avoid habitat gaps of > 100 m. 
  • Avoid intensive overgrazing in Hooded Robin habitat – aim to manage grazing to maintain or improve habitat. 
  • Target invasive weeds.   
  • Reduce edge habitat and plant a complex understory to deter Noisy Miners, which compete with this species.  
  • Limit firewood collection and the removal of fallen timber.
  • Provide water for birds and consider using water sources that hang to reduce predation from cats at bird baths.
  • Keep cats inside – see the Safe Cat website for information on how to keep cats (and wildlife) safe.

The information above has been summarised from the government’s Conservation advice Melanodryas cucullata cucullata (hooded robin (south-eastern)) ( 

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