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Superb Fairy Wren – the male is a show off!

20 June 2011 2 Comments

Cradle Mountain Birds - Superb Fairy WrensWhile exploring Cradle Mountain National Park and Tasmania, you will encounter a range of bird life. One favourite for many visitors is the cheeky little Superb Fairy Wren.

It is a common held belief that a well plumed male is looking for a mate.

There is no better example than the Superb Fairy-wren.  Keen to show off to the ladies, the male Superb Fairy-wren has a sky-blue head, ear coverts and upper back; while his chest, throat and tail are a dark blue.

These flashes of blue make him stand out from the browns, greys and greens of the forest foliage to attract his mate and distract any interested predators from his brooding family.

The female and young do their best to stay hidden amongst the trees and so are brown with a dull-red/orange area around the eye.

The Superb Fairy-wren is found in a wide range of habitats: from open forest and woodland to scrub lands.  In fact, any area where dense cover is available is preferred, so you can even spot them in urban parks and some private gardens.

The wren loves to forage through the undergrowth and leaf litter for insects, grubs and small arthropods.

The breeding season coincides with the walking season – September to March.  The female busily constructs her nest, creating a dome-shaped structure out of grasses for herself and her three to four eggs to live in.

The bird is such a social animal that you’ll often find them in groups of one male with several females and their young.  Both sexes feed the chicks, sometimes other members of the social group will also help with feeding time.  This allows more broods to be raised each season.

Thanks must go to the wonderful Parks and Wildlife Service – Tasmania for the information in this and other articles in our wildlife information series. You can even listen to the Superb Fairy Wren’s call on their site.

Just for you information, the Tasmanian subspecies , M. c. cyaneus, was described in 1782. Found throughout Tasmania and on the Bass Strait Islands, these birds are larger and darker than the mainland subspecies. The males having a deeper azure blue coloration.

Image: Wikipedia Creative Commons

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2 Comments »

  • Brooke, WhyGo Australia said:

    Gorgeous little bird :)

  • Frank (author) said:

    Spot on Brooke,
    It is a sneaky pic though , photoshopped I believe……

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