About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Birds Around the World: Superb Fairy-wren

I am a backyard birder. I love to watch all the activity outside my window at work and in the garden at home. I am very familiar with the nature in my community, but what about other communities.
Male and Female Superb Fairy-wrens. Photo from Wikimedia Commons
I thought it would be fun to take a peek at a bird in a warmer location. Australia’s summer is December to February, the opposite of Michigan. During the breeding season, the male Superb Fairy-wrens are among the most brightly colored birds on south-eastern corner of South Australia. They have rich blue and black plumage above and on the throat. The belly is grey-white and the bill is black. Females are brown with a dull red-orange eye mask and a pale greenish tinted brown tail. Non-breeding males, females and juveniles are predominantly grey-brown in color.

They are common in urban parks and gardens, and can be seen in small social groups. These groups normally consist of one dominant male and several females and young birds. Male Superb Fairy-wrens have been labelled as 'the least faithful birds in the world'. Females may be courted by up to 13 males in half an hour, and 76% of young are sired by males from outside the social group.

In the spring they build a dome-shaped nest of grasses and other fine material. It is usually placed in a low bush and is constructed by the female. The female incubates the eggs alone, but both sexes feed the young. Other members of the group will also help with the feeding of the young. The Superb Fairywren mainly eats insects and supplements its diet with seeds.


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