Our Bushland Diary

Sunday, November 28, 2010

bright blue jewels in the understorey

One of our most wonderful treasures is the suite of tiny insect-eating birds that inhabit healthy bushland, and in particular the Splendid Fairy-wren (Malurus splendens).  This little jewel spends most of its time on or near the ground.  During the breeding season, late spring through summer, the adult males have brilliant blue feathers.  The females and younger males are always brown, with a blue-ish tail.  

Male Splendid Fairy-wren in breeding colours

The males will sometimes sit higher up in a tall shrub, singing a high-pitched reel, while the rest of the family moves around in the shrubs below making softer "contact" calls to each other. 

In Ellenbrook, these birds can sometimes be seen darting through the understorey of our larger bushland remnants.   Occasionally, Fairy-wrens will come into home gardens which have native plants, to hunt for insects and spiders.  

Unfortunately, their preference for staying close to the ground makes Fairy-wrens vulnerable to cats.

Find out more about Splendid Wrens here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malurus_splendens

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