A male variegated fairy wren.
A male variegated fairy wren.

Flower petals for the lady wren

FAIRY wrens are not only tiny, beautiful and cute, they are full of personality as well.

The variegated fairy wren is one of two species that can be seen in the area. They are called variegated because there are five different races around Australia, each with slightly different features.

In this area the breeding male is brightly coloured, with the crown and sides of the head bright blue and the shoulder a rich chestnut. Non-breeding males, females and young birds are brownish grey and look much the same.

They are highly sociable birds, living in communal, territorial groups that always consist of a dominant male and female. The rest of the group are young males and females. The male is often mistakenly believed to have a harem of females. The small groups actually consist of an adult female with younger or non-breeding birds.

Like all fairy wrens, the variegated fairy wren is an active and restless feeder, particularly on open ground near shelter but also through the lower foliage. Movement is a series of jaunty hops and bounces, its balance assisted by a proportionally large tail, which is usually held upright and rarely still.

During their courtship, the male wrens pluck yellow petals and display them to females to impress her in much the same way that men buy a bunch of flowers for a female.

The nest is an oval-shaped dome, constructed of grasses and placed in a low shrub. The female constructs the nest and incubates the eggs but is assisted by other group members in feeding chicks.

The best place to see these beauties is at Police Creek and Canoe Point Reserve.

abriggs@irock.com.au



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