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16

Red-backed Fairy-wren

(Malurus melanocephalus)
Alternate name(s): "Red-backed Wren", "Scarlet-backed Wren", "Black-headed Wren", "Orange-backed Wren"
Size: 10-13 cm
Weight: 5-10 g
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Red-backed Fairy-wren at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "melanocephalus"

ADULT

MALE

BREEDING

Near-frontal view of a male Red-backed Fairy-wren (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Paradise Dam, Burnett River, near Gayndah, QLD, April 2016]

Lateral view of a male Red-backed Fairy-wren
[Bundjalung NP, NSW, February 2012]

Slightly different posture
[Bundjalung NP, NSW, February 2012]

Near-dorsal view of a male Red-backed Fairy-wren
[Bundjalung NP, NSW, February 2012]

Dorsal view of a male Red-backed Fairy-wren (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Paradise Dam, Burnett River, near Gayndah, QLD, April 2016]

Dorsal view of a male Red-backed Fairy-wren
[Bundjalung NP, NSW, February 2012]

Male Red-backed Fairy-wren seen next to a Red-browed Finch; photo courtesy of C. Kellenberg

The same Red-backed Fairy-wren as above, now preening, next to a Red-browed Finch; photo courtesy of C. Kellenberg

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Red-backed Fairy-wren
[Bundjalung NP, NSW, February 2012]

Female Red-backed Fairy-wren here seen with its head turned
[Bundjalung NP, NSW, February 2012]

Lateral view of a female Red-backed Fairy-wren (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Paradise Dam, Burnett River, near Gayndah, QLD, April 2016]

Lateral view of a female Red-backed Fairy-wren
[Bundjalung NP, NSW, February 2012]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Frontal view of a sub-adult male Red-backed Fairy-wren that is in the process of moulting into its first adult plumage (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Roseberry Creek Valley, near Toonumbar NP, northern NSW, December 2016]

Frontal view of a sub-adult male Red-backed Fairy-wren moulting into its first adult plumage (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Kilcoy, QLD, December 2016]

Dorsal view of a sub-adult male Red-backed Fairy-wren moulting into its first adult plumage (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Kilcoy, QLD, December 2016]

Race "cruentatus"

ADULT

MALE

BREEDING

Frontal view of a male Red-backed Fairy-wren (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Wyndham, WA, January 2016]

Lateral view of a male Red-backed Fairy-wren
[Holmes Jungle NP, Darwin, NT, in August 2014]

Lateral view of a male Red-backed Fairy-wren
[Holmes Jungle NP, Darwin, NT, in August 2014]

Lateral view of a male Red-backed Fairy-wren (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Wyndham, WA, January 2016]

Lateral view of a male Red-backed Fairy-wren, different posture (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Wyndham, WA, January 2016]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Red-backed Fairy-wren
[Holmes Jungle NP, Darwin, NT, in August 2014]

Near-frontal view of a female Red-backed Fairy-wren (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Wyndham, WA, January 2016]

Lateral view of a female Red-backed Fairy-wren
[Holmes Jungle NP, Darwin, NT, in August 2014]

Near-dorsal view of a female Red-backed Fairy-wren (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Wyndham, WA, January 2016]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary Elementary unit: Family clan

Food, Diet

Fairy-wrens feed on small animals, such as insects.

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

rbfairy_art_20131202.mp3 melanocephalus
(SE QLD)
Pair chattering © ART
rbfairy_20150327.mp3 melanocephalus
(NE NSW)
Various (family clan) © MD
 
rbfairy_20140820.mp3 cruentatus
(Darwin, NT)
Various (family clan) © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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