Superb Fairy-wren male David Cook/Flickr

Superb Fairy-wren

Malurus cyaneus

Did You Know?

  • Female fairy-wrens are quite promiscuous, with many eggs resulting from extra-pair liaisons
FactBox Image

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.

The nest is dome-shaped consisting of grass, moss, rootlets, twigs, spiders webs and other bramble. Found low in tussock, shrub or bracken.

Size

14 - 20 cm

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.

Species: WhatToObserve Image

What to Observe

  • Courting/Mating

  • Calling

  • Feeding

  • Bird on chicks

  • Bird on eggs

  • Bird on nest

  • Bird feeding young

Species: WhenAndWhere Image

When and Where

When To Look

  • Breeding June to February
  • Eggs hatch after 2 weeks
  • Chicks leave the nest after 40 days

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
Species: WhatElse Image

What Else?

Similar Species

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