Splendid Fairy-wren, Malurus splendens

The Splendid Fairy-wren (Malurus splendens) is also called the Splendid Wren or Blue Wren and is one of the 12 species from the genus Malurus, commonly known as fairy-wrens. These birds are small at 5.5 inches in length. The tail of the adult male Splendid Fairy-wren is a striking bright blue with black markings and is a somewhat long. Females and the young birds are brown mixed with some gray colorings.

This bird resides in dry and semi-dry regions of Australia and also the forested areas of the southwest. The Splendid Fairy-wren’s diet includes small animals, but mostly insects including grasshoppers, ants, bugs, crickets, and spiders. In addition they eat small amounts of seeds, flowers, and fruit. The young birds receive a diet of caterpillars and grasshoppers.

The Splendid Fairy-wren is notable for some unusual behaviors. These birds will pair and mate for life, but may also mate with other partners regularly. During courtship, the male wren will pluck purple or pink petals and give them to the females. Male birds may also exhibit a demonstration called the ‘Sea Horse Flight’, named as such because they look like a seahorse moving in the water. The round nest is built by the female out of loosely woven grasses and spider webs and is generally situated close to the ground. Young are often raised not by the pair alone, but with other males who mated outside their original pairing.

The calling sounds of the Splendid fairy-wren have been described as harsher as and louder than other fairy-wrens and are unique to each bird. The alarm call has a tsit sound, the call within their group has soft single trrt sound, and the females will emit a purr if they are feeling threatened. Nest predators include mammals such as the Red Fox, feral cats and Black Rat, as well as Australian Magpies, Butcherbirds, Laughing Kookaburra, Currawongs, crows and ravens.

Image Credit: Julia Gross/Wikipedia (CC Attribution 2.0)