The Hooded Robin gets its name from the male of the species, whose neat black-and-white plumage includes a dark ‘hood’ which covers the bird’s head, extending down onto the upper breast and back. The female, by contrast, is drab, having largely brownish-grey plumage. While the entire species listed as Least Concern, the South-eastern Hooded Robin (Melanodryas cucullata cucullata) is in decline, and was listed as Endangered as of March 2023.
The Hooded Robin is a medium-large robin with a rather short slender bill and a moderately long tail that is square-tipped. Adult males are pied (black and white) with a black hood and back, white underparts, black wings, white shoulder bar, and wing stripe. Females are similar to males but greyer with a brown-grey head and a dark brown wing with a white stripe. Juveniles are dark brown with off-white speckling, white markings on the upper body, and white underneath. They are usually seen in pairs or small groups and are rather shy and quiet. Their flight is short, swift and undulating (curving up and down) with the white in the wings and tail is obvious.
Their average size is 16cm and their average weight is 22 grams.
Their calls are quiet trills, occasional piping whistles. Bird call recorded by: Marc Anderson
Hooded Robins are found all over mainland Australia. They are not found in Cape York and eastern Gulf of Carpentaria or inland around the Simpson Desert, on the Nullarbor Plain or south of the Kimberley Ranges.
Hooded Robins are found in lightly timbered woodland, mainly dominated by acacia and/or eucalypts.
Being a shy and unobtrusive species, Hooded Robins are often rather quiet during the day, especially in the afternoon, but are one of the first birds to call in the morning, when they vigorously add their far-carrying song to the dawn chorus. Their seasonal movements are not well known but they are believed to be sedentary.
The Hooded Robin sits on exposed perches, such as dead branches and stumps and pounces on arthropods (mainly insects). It forages on or near the ground.
The Hooded Robin breeds in monogamous pairs. They construct a cup-shaped nest of leaves and bark, bound with spider’s web, and placed in a crevice, hollow, or hole in a tree or stump. The clutch size is 2 to 3 eggs, sometimes 1 egg. The female incubates the eggs (15 days). Hooded Robins may have ‘helpers’ at their nest: other members of the group that help feed the nestlings and fledglings. the nestling period is for 13 days. Breeding season is August to November.