The splendid fairywren (Malurus splendens) is a passerine bird in the Australasian wren family, Maluridae. It also known simply as the splendid wren or more colloquially in Western Australia as the blue wren. The splendid fairywren is found across much of the Australian continent from central-western New South Wales and southwestern Queensland over to coastal Western Australia. It inhabits predominantly arid and semi-arid regions. Exhibiting a high degree of sexual dimorphism, the male in breeding plumage is a small, long-tailed bird of predominantly bright blue and black colouration. Non-breeding males, females (The female resembles the non-breeding male but has a chestnut bill and eye-patch) and juveniles are predominantly grey-brown in colour; this gave the early impression that males were polygamous as all dull-coloured birds were taken for females. It comprises several similar all-blue and black subspecies that were originally considered separate species.
Like other fairywrens, the splendid fairywren is notable for several peculiar behavioural characteristics; birds are socially monogamous and sexually promiscuous, meaning that although they form pairs between one male and one female, each partner will mate with other individuals and even assist in raising the young from such trysts.Male wrens pluck pink or purple petals and display them to females as part of a courtship display.
The habitat of the splendid fairywren ranges from forest to dry scrub, generally with ample vegetation for shelter. Unlike the eastern superb fairywren, it has not adapted well to human occupation of the landscape and has disappeared from some urbanised areas. The splendid fairywren mainly eats insects and supplements its diet with seeds.
The splendid fairywren 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, with its balance assisted by a proportionally large tail, which is usually held upright and rarely still. The short, rounded wings provide good initial lift and are useful for short flights, though not for extended jaunts. However, splendid fairywrens are stronger fliers than most other fairywrens During spring and summer, birds are active in bursts through the day and accompany their foraging with song. Insects are numerous and easy to catch, which allows the birds to rest between forays. The group often shelters and rests together during the heat of the day. Food is harder to find during winter and they are required to spend the day foraging continuously. The splendid fairywren is predominantly insectivorous; its diet includes a wide range of small creatures, mostly arthropods such as ants, grasshoppers, crickets, spiders and bugs. This is supplemented by small quantities of seeds, flowers, and fruit.They mostly forage on the ground or in shrubs that are less than two metres above the ground; this has been termed 'hop-searching'. They may also occasionally forage in the canopy of flowering gums. Birds tend to stick fairly close to cover and forage in groups as this foraging practice does render them vulnerable to a range of predators. Food can be scarce in winter and ants are an important 'last resort' option, constituting a much higher proportion of the diet. Adult fairywrens feed their young a different diet, conveying larger items such as caterpillars and grasshoppers to nestlings
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Source: Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia