ClimateWatch

An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

  1. Superb_fairy-wren_kr_adventures_flickrcc Superb Fairy-wren by KR ADVENTURES (FlickrCC)
  2. Superb_fairy-wren_patrickkavanagh_flickrcc Superb Fairy-wren by patrickkavanagh (FlickrCC)
  3. Superb_fairy-wren_david_cook_flickrcc__2_ Superb Fairy-wren by David Cook (FlickrCC)
  4. Superb_fairy-wren_nest_jon_sullivan_flickrcc Superb Fairy-wren Nest by Jon Sullivan (FlickrCC)

Superb Fairy-wren

Malurus cyaneus

Appearance

Colour: Males have a rich blue and black plumage above and on the throat. The belly is grey-white and the beak is black. In non-breeding plumage, called eclipse, he is very similar to the female.

Females and young birds are mostly brown above with a dull red-orange area around the eye and brown beak. Females have a pale green gloss, absent in young birds, on the otherwise brown tail. Both sexes possess brown legs.

Size: 14-20cm

Nest: Dome shaped consisting of grass, moss, rootlets, twigs, spiders webs and other bramble. Found low in tussock, shrub or bracken.

Behaviour

Call: The basic song is a 1–4 second high-pitched reel consisting of 10–20 short elements per second sung by both sexes. Males also possess a peculiar song-like vocalization, which is given in response to the calls of predatory birds.

Diet: Feeds on insects and other small arthropods. Feeding takes place in small social groups.

Breeding: September-March. The nest is a dome-shaped structure of grasses and other fine material. It is usually placed in a low bush and is constructed by the female. The female incubates the eggs alone, but both sexes feed the young. Other members of the group will also help with the feeding of the young.

What to Observe

·       Courting/mating

·       Calling

·       Feeding

·       Bird on chicks

·       Bird on eggs

·       Bird on nest

·       Bird feeding young

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

We expect birds to start breeding and singing earlier in the year as a result of climate change. They may also start appearing in new areas.

When To Look

·       Breeding June to February

·       Eggs hatch after 2 weeks

·       Chicks leave the nest after 40 days

Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes in the timing of these events so remember to keep a lookout all year!

Where To Look

South-eastern mainland Australia and Tasmania. Seen in most habitat types where suitable dense cover and low shrubs occur. They are common in urban parks and gardens.

Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes outside of their known ranges so remember to keep a lookout beyond these regions too!

BirdLife distribution map - Superb Fairy-wren

 

 

 

 

 Source: BirdLife Australia

 

Sightings

References

Pizzey and Knight (2001)The Field Guide to Birds of Australia, 8th edition

Links

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  1. What Else?

    Other predominantly blue male fairy-wrens have either chestnut shoulder patch or blue underparts.

  1. Listen to the Call