2016 Five Black Robins

Resin, Acrylic paint, fabric nest, hand-made packaging.

The Black Robin is endemic to the Chatham Islands off the coast of New Zealand, they were extinct on the mainland in 1871 due to mammal predication.They spend a lot of time in woody vegetation, beneath the canopy of trees in the lower branches of the forest in order to shelter from the strong winds that buffet the Chatham Islands group; foraging for insects in the deep layers of litter found on flat areas of the forest floor. Alert and almost always active; Black Robins are commonly attracted to human presence. Black Robins have a life expectancy of 4 years. “Old Blue” however, the sole breeding female in 1980, lived for over 14 years.

There were only five black robins in the world in 1980, with just a single breeding pair left. The survival of the species hinged on that last pair. The outlook was bleak, but a dedicated team of New Zealand Wildlife Service staff took the daring step of cross-fostering eggs and young to another species to boost productivity. The last breeding pair, named Old Blue and Old Yellow, and a foster species, the Chatham Island tits, ended up saving the black robin from extinction.The population is now about 250 birds, all descendants from Old Blue and Old Yellow.

The black Robin birds are dressed in a representation of traditional Moriori costume. The Moriori are an indigenous tribe to the Chatham Islands.

Five Black Robins was commissioned by NIADA to be one of their 2016 conference souvenirs.

Exhibited at
2016             NIADA 53rd Annual Show, Alexandria, Virginia, USA