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16

Variegated Fairy-wren

(Malurus lamberti)
Alternate name(s): "Lavender-flanked Wren", "Bernier Island Blue Wren",
"Lambert's Superb Warbler", "Lambert's Wren", "Dulcet Fairy Wren"

Size: 13-14 cm
Weight: 6-11 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 Variegated Fairy-wren at Wikipedia .

Click here for classification information

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

ADULT

MALE

BREEDING

Full-frontal view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Pullenvale, QLD, October 2023]

Frontal view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead Reserve, Anstead, QLD, July 2022]

Frontal view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage looking sideways (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Pullenvale, QLD, October 2023]

Near-frontal view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Pullenvale, QLD, October 2023]

Near-frontal view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Cooloola NP, QLD, January 2019]

Near-frontal view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead Reserve, Anstead, QLD, July 2022]

Near-frontal view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead Reserve, Anstead, QLD, July 2022]

Near-frontal view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead Reserve, Anstead, QLD, July 2022]

Near-frontal view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage looking sideways (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Pullenvale, QLD, October 2023]

Near-lateral view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage bringing food for its brood (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Pullenvale, QLD, October 2023]

Lateral view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Pullenvale, QLD, October 2023]

Lateral view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of I. Duncan)
[South West Rocks, NSW, September 2012]

Lateral view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead Reserve, Anstead, QLD, July 2022]

Near-dorsal view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead Reserve, Anstead, QLD, July 2022]

Dorsal view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead Reserve, Anstead, QLD, July 2022]

NON-BREEDING

Near-lateral view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, June 2018]

Lateral view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, June 2018]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Variegated Fairy-wren looking sideways (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Pullenvale, QLD, October 2023]

Near-frontal view of a female Variegated Fairy-wren (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, June 2018]

Near-lateral view of a female Variegated Fairy-wren (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Pullenvale, QLD, October 2023]

Lateral view of a female Variegated Fairy-wren (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead Reserve, Anstead, QLD, July 2022]

Lateral view of a female Variegated Fairy-wren bringing food for its brood (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Pullenvale, QLD, October 2023]

Lateral view of a female Variegated Fairy-wren in a state of excitement
(photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[St. Albans, NSW, June 2018]

PAIR

Lateral view of a pair of Variegated Fairy-wrens, male in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead Reserve, Anstead, QLD, July 2022]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a female Variegated Fairy-wren bringing with its two fledgling chicks (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Pullenvale, QLD, October 2023]

Lateral view of a fledgling Variegated Fairy-wren chick (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Pullenvale, QLD, October 2023]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jul - Jan Eggs: 3 - 4 Incubation period: 14 - 16 days Fledging age: 10 - 12 days

Variegated Fairy-wrens have a particularly short fledging period for their chicks, compared to the incubation period.

Nest building: ? Incubation: Female Dependent care: Family clan

Nest

"bungobittah", "lar", "malunna", "jindi" [bundjalung] = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Dome Material: Bark fibres, grass stems, webs Height above ground: 0.1 - 0.4 m

Frontal view of a Variegated Fairy-wren nest in a low shrub (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Pullenvale, QLD, October 2023]

When seen from the side, this Variegated Fairy-wren nest is very hard to spot (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Pullenvale, QLD, October 2023]

Variegated Fairy-wren nest in a low shrub (photo courtesy of E. Scott)
[Roseberry Creek Valley, near Toonumbar NP, NSW, September 2016]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "mirk", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena", "pum-pum" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 17 x 13 mm Colour: Creamy, with light-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

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

Although territorial, we have seen Variegated Fairy-wrens share their territories with Superb Fairy-wrens, even during the breeding season.

Like other Fairy-wrens, male Variegated Fairy-wrens have distinctly different breeding and eclipse plumages.

Lateral view of a male Variegated Fairy-wren moulting into breeding plumage
[Manning Point, NSW, July 2013]

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.

varwren_me_20220722.m4a lamberti
(SE QLD)
Territorial call (+ White-plumed Honeyeater) © ME
varwren_me_20220722.m4a lamberti
(SE QLD)
Territorial call (+ Scarlet Honeyeater) © ME
varwren_art_20131125.mp3 lamberti
(SE QLD)
Pair Q&A © ART
varwren_me_20231026.m4a lamberti
(SE QLD)
All-out alarm; mob with fledging chicks near nest © ME

More Variegated Fairy-wren sound recordings are available at xeno-canto.org .

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.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.