Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus
Male and female Superb Fairy-wren, Dover, Tasmania, Australia, January 2006 - click for larger image Australia
January / March 2006

The Superb Fairy-wren is distributed in south-east Australia including Tasmania. It is found in a variety of shrubby habitats where there is some green grass and is often found near human habitation.

Male Superb Fairy-wren, Dover, Tasmania, Australia, January 2006 - click for larger image The male has a blue crown and mantle and blue ear-coverts which are sometimes held semi-erect as in photo 3. It has a black mask, nape, throat and chest and greyish-white underparts. Out of the breeding season the male moves into an eclipse plumage, seen here in photos 6 and 7, which is similar to female plumage but still shows a bluish tail and lacks the russet lores and eye-ring of the female.
Male Superb Fairy-wren, Wye Valley, Victoria, Australia, February 2006 - click for larger image There are 6 sub-species. The nominate sub-species is found in Tasmania and is seen here in photos 1 and 2. The sub-species M. c. cyanochlamys is found from central Queensland to Victoria and is seen here in photos 3 to 7. The males have a paler blue on the crown, mantle and ear-coverts and lack the faint bluish tinge just below the breast band that can be seen in the nominate male in photo 2.
Male Superb Fairy-wren, You Yangs, Victoria, Australia, February 2006 - click for larger image The female M. c. cyanochlamys, seen here in photo 5, compared to the nominate female has a slightly smaller russet eye-ring, no bluish tinge to the tail and white with brownish flanks on the breast.
Female Superb Fairy-wren, Murramarang NP, NSW, Australia, March 2006 - click for larger image Photos 8 and 9 show the male and female of the sub-species M. c. leggei found in the south-east of South Australia.
Male Superb Fairy-wren in eclipse plumage, Murramarang NP, NSW, Australia, March 2006 - click for larger image
Male Superb Fairy-wren in eclipse plumage, Murramarang NP, NSW, Australia, March 2006 - click for larger image
Male Superb Fairy-wren, Adelaide, South Australia, September 2013 - click for larger image
Male Superb Fairy-wren, Adelaide, South Australia, September 2013 - click for larger image
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