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Species Guide

White-winged Robin

Peneothello sigillata

The White-winged Robin, known scientifically as Peneothello sigillata, is a small songbird adorned in a striking black plumage contrasted by its largely white wings. This bird measures between 14 to 15 centimeters in length. Both male and female share the same coloration, making them indistinguishable in the field. Their bill and feet are black, while their eyes are a deep, dark brown. The juveniles, however, sport a variable streaked brown plumage, quite different from the adults.

Identification Tips

When identifying the White-winged Robin, look for its distinctive white wing patches which stand out against its otherwise black body. The bird's size is relatively small, and its dark eyes are set in a black head, which can be helpful in distinguishing it from other species.


The White-winged Robin is a denizen of the subtropical or tropical moist montane forests of the New Guinea Highlands. It thrives at elevations ranging from 2,400 to 3,900 meters, where the climate and vegetation provide an ideal environment for this species.


This species is endemic to the highlands of New Guinea, where it can be found along the main mountain range from the Bismarck Range eastwards. It is replaced by the Slaty Robin at lower elevations.


In its natural montane forest habitat, the White-winged Robin can be observed in pairs or small troops. These birds are often seen foraging in the understory or on the forest floor, displaying their insectivorous tendencies, although they are known to consume some seeds as well.


The White-winged Robin constructs a somewhat bulky cup-shaped nest, which is placed in a tree fork. This structure serves as a cradle for the next generation of these forest dwellers.

Similar Species

The White-winged Robin could potentially be confused with the Slaty Robin, which occupies lower elevations. However, the white wing patches of the White-winged Robin are a distinctive feature that aids in its identification.

Diet and Feeding

Primarily insectivorous, the White-winged Robin forages for insects in the forest understory. It does, however, supplement its diet with seeds, indicating a degree of dietary flexibility.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List has classified the White-winged Robin as Least Concern, suggesting that, for now, this species does not face immediate threats to its survival.

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More Australasian Robins

A photo of a Southern Scrub Robin (Drymodes brunneopygia)

Southern Scrub Robin

Drymodes brunneopygia
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