Superb Fairy Wren


Malurus cyaneus



other names
Superb Blue Wren, Blue Bonnet, Fairy Wren and Mormon Wren


Male: 120 to 150mm in length. In breeding plumage the crown and upper back is sky-blue. Oval cheek patch of sky blue. Throat and breast blue-black. Rest of underparts are white. Dark brown eye. Black bill. Lower back, back of neck and around eyes is black. Wings grey-brown. Tail dark blue with narrow white tip. Feet are flesh-grey. Non breeding plumage, upper parts are mid grey-brown. Underparts greyish white.

Female: Smaller then male. Feather colours as per non breeding male. Tail is browner with a green wash. Bill, feet and around eye is an orange-brown.

Juvenile: Resemble female for the first several months with a browner tail. In Autumn young mails gain blue tail and in the following breeding season they have the full breeding plumage.

Voice: Staccato "prip prip" or downward trill in contact. Repeated, high pitched "seeee" and and churring in alarm. Females have a brooding "purr". Sound is a loud, rich warble descending in pitch.

The Superb Fairy Wren is one of the post popular and familiar of Australian birds. It can be found in the highlands of eastern Australia from south-eastern Queensland to Tasmania. It prefers open forests with lower shrubs. The wren is a family bird with groups comprising of an adult pair, their young and sometimes additional males. Only the dominant male stays in the breeding plumage colours year around with sub-ordinate males returning to non breeding plumage out of breeding season. The parental female of the group drives off other female wrens. Superb Fairy Wrens are sedentary, remaining paired in the close-knit group. Diet consists of small insects and occasional small fruits. Breeding is from August to March, sometimes at other time of the year after good rain. With the help of the family group, two or three broods can be raised per season. All members bring food to the chicks and this often leaves the female to nest again. The female only builds the nest, incubates and broods the chicks. The male stands as sentry by the nest and escorts the female to forage. The nest is a loose grass ball about one metre off the ground. Incubation is 13 to 15 days. Young fledge in 12 to 13 days.