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16

Splendid Fairy-wren

(Malurus splendens)
Alternate name(s): "Splendid Wren", "Banded Wren", "Black-backed Blue Wren", "Turquoise Wren"
Aboriginal name(s): "miril-yiril-yiri"
Collectively, the three species White-winged Fairy-wren, Splendid Fairy-wren and Variegated Fairy-wren, are called "miril-yiril-yiri" along the northern edge of the Nullarbor

Size: 13-14 cm
Weight: 8-12 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Splendid 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 "splendens"

ADULT

MALE

BREEDING

Frontal view of a moulting male Splendid Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Gnoocardup, WA, December 2016]

Near-frontal view of a moulting male Splendid Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Gnoocardup, WA, December 2016]

Near-dorsal view of a male Splendid Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Gnoocardup, WA, December 2016]

Lateral view of a moulting male Splendid Fairy-wren, with much of the breeding plumage still visible; note the absence of any tail feathers (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Cheynes Beach, Albany, WA, January 2015]

Lateral view of a moulting male Splendid Fairy-wren; note the absence of any tail feathers (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Cheynes Beach, Albany, WA, January 2015]

Dorsal view of a moulting male Splendid Fairy-wren (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Cheynes Beach, Albany, WA, January 2015]

NON-BREEDING

Near-lateral view of a male Splendid Fairy-wren in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Manjimup, WA, March 2015]

Lateral view of a male Splendid Fairy-wren in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Balingup, WA, May 2016]

FEMALE

Close-up near-lateral view of a female Splendid Fairy-wren (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Manjimup, WA, March 2015]

Race "melanotus"

ADULT

MALE

Near-frontal view of a male Splendid Fairy-wren in breeding plumage
[Gundabooka NP, NSW, September 2012]

Near-lateral view of a male Splendid Fairy-wren in breeding plumage
[Gundabooka NP, NSW, September 2012]

Dorsal view of a male Splendid Fairy-wren in breeding plumage
[Gundabooka NP, NSW, September 2012]

View of the vent and undertail of a male Splendid Fairy-wren in breeding plumage
[Gundabooka NP, NSW, September 2012]

Frontal view of a male Splendid Fairy-wren moulting into breeding plumage (photo courtesy of C. Charles)
[Mt. Hope, Nombinnie NP, NSW, September 2010]

FEMALE

Lateral view of a female Splendid Fairy-wren
[Gundabooka NP, NSW, September 2012]

Near-dorsal view of a female Splendid Fairy-wren
[Gundabooka NP, NSW, September 2012]

Behaviour

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

As all other species of Fairy-wrens, male Splendid Fairy-wrens have breeding and non-breeding (eclipse) plumages.

Frontal view of a male Splendid Fairy-wren moulting into breeding plumage (photo courtesy of C. Charles)
[Mt. Hope, Nombinnie NP, NSW, September 2010]

Splendid Fairy-wrens can be used as hosts by small cuckoos, such as e.g. Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo.

Juvenile Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo begging to be fed by a male Splendid Fairy-wren (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)

Juvenile Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo begging to be fed by a female Splendid Fairy-wren (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)

Food, Diet

It is normally difficult to see what exactly Spendid Fairy-wrens feed on. Probably their mainstay are small insects. Below a photo showing a male bird that has caught some a relatively large insect, making it clear that these birds are carnivorous.

Near-lateral view of a male Splendid Fairy-wren in breeding plumage with an insect is has caught
[Gundabooka NP, NSW, September 2012]

Near-frontal view of a female Splendid Fairy-wren scavenging on bread (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Manjimup, WA, March 2015]

Lateral view of a female Splendid Fairy-wren scavenging on bread (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Manjimup, WA, March 2015]

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.

splwren_20170920.m4a splendens
(W NSW)
Territorial call (male) © MD
splwren_20170920_2.m4a splendens
(W NSW)
Territorial call Q&A © MD
splwren_jg_20150124.mp3 splendens
(SW WA)
Territorial call (male?) © JG

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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