The Stewart Island robin, also known as the toutouwai, is a small bird species endemic to Stewart Island / Rakiura.
Stewart Island Robins have a distinctive appearance, with a dark grey or black head, back, and wings, and a white or pale yellow belly. They have large heads, short necks, round bodies and an upright stance. They are rather cute but with a seriousness about them.
Curious by nature
They are trusting wee birds with a curious nature around humans, fearless since forever. Hopping along the forest floor on their long twig-like legs they will come close to your feet to see what delicious bugs you have managed to expose with your feet.
Rather clever about their food
Robins are primarily insectivorous, feeding on a variety of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates found in the forest but will also eat small berries.
They are masters at caching their food in holes and crevices in branches of trees to be stored there like loot until they feel the urge for an easy feast. Robins have a great memory and can relocate up to 12 caches and know which cache has the most food in it.
Hard to miss them
It’s hard to avoid Robins on Ulva Island, they seem to be at every twist and turn of the track just waiting for humans to come along. They have also been observed following ground birds such as Weka and Kiwi to take advantage of disturbed soil and the insects that are stirred up.