Sunday, 29 May 2011

Splendid fairywren

Malurus splendens

Photo by Hans Beste (Mangoverde)

Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Maluridae

Range:
This species is endemic to Australia, being widely distributed across the southern and western parts of the country.

Size:
Splendid fairywrens are 12-14 cm long and weigh 9 g.

Habitat:
These birds live in arid to semi-arid areas, in mostly dense scrublands or woodlands of Acacia, and mallee eucalypt with dense scrubs. They are often found in forest clearings and along creeks, parks and large gardens.

Diet:
Splendid fairywrens eat arthropods such as ants, grasshoppers, crickets, spiders and bugs. These are supplemented by small quantities of seeds, flowers, and fruit. They mostly forage on the ground or in scrubs.

Breeding:
Groups of 2-8 birds defend a territory all year-round and only 1 socially monogamous pair breeds, but they often mate with other group members. These birds mostly breed in September-December, but can start nesting as early as April. The female builds an oval domed nest of dry grass, strips of bark and rootlets, with an entrance two thirds of the way up one side. There the female lays 2-4 white eggs speckled reddish brown. The female incubates the eggs alone for 14-15 days, but the chicks are fed by all group members until fledging, which takes place 10-13 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be locally quite common. This population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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