Chatham Island Black Robin Chatham Island Black Robin

One of the rarest birds in the world. It once lived on Pitt, Mangere and Little Mangere Islands. Cats exterminated the species on Pitt and Mangere Island, so by the turn of the century only about 25 pairs remained.

The destruction of forest on Little Mangere Island, coupled with the low breeding rate, caused the numbers to decline even further. To prevent extinction the 7 birds surviving in 1976-77 were moved to the larger Mangere Island. In 1980 an intensive management plan was started to save the Black Robin from extinction.

Only one female robin - "Old Blue" - was successful at this time. Black Robins usually mate for life but she, at the rather old age of 9 years, decided to exchange her mate for a younger bird - Yellow.

Old Blue died in 1984 aged 13 years old. All the Black Robins living today are descendants of her and Yellow. Today the population stands at over 100.

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