Bird 76 – Superb Fairywren

I feel it’s time for an Australian favourite. The Superb Fairywren (Malurus cyaneus).

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Most of us will be familiar with these super cuties. They bounce about, rarely pausing for more than a couple of seconds as they flit in and out of underbrush.

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They usually live in small social groups and will defend a tiny territory from other wrens and small birds.

The males have a sweet little courtship practice, where they bring yellow leaves and petals to potential suitors. Apparently they think it makes their blue feathers pop.

They even bring leaves in the non-mating season. I guess they just like giving gifts.

But the most interesting thing about the Superb Fairywren is the high drama that takes places under the cover of night. For you see, Fairywrens mate for life, and through the day they live happily together. But in the evening, the lady wrens sneak away to mate with rival males. They’re a type of animal which is socially monogamous but sexually promiscuous.

They’re the swingers of the bird world. 

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Who knows who those babies belong to. Such cheating little cuties.

Apparently cheating is good for creating greater genetic diversity, so you know, I guess they’ve got an excuse.



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