Saturday, June 2, 2012

Variegated Fairywren

Malurus lamberti (male and females)
I just love the look of today's animal-- the Variegated Fairywren. Their name means "having streaks or patches of different colors," which is very true for the males. They sport black chests, bright chestnut patches on the shoulders, and brilliant blue heads. (Females are shades of grey).

You can find the Variegated Fairywren (and most other Fairywrens) in Australia, where they are the most common and widespread members of their genus. There are four different subspecies, each found in a different location across the continent.

These little birds are incredibly active, spending large chunks of their day hopping about on the ground and in low foliage in search of food. Their long tails help them to balance while bouncing around, searching for insects to eat.

The social structure of the Variegated Fairywren is rather interesting. After breeding (which can occur at any time of the year but is most frequent in Spring and Summer) the females do all the incubating on their own. However, they do get chick-raising help from non-breeding helpers, who are oftentimes children from previous broods.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Australia
Size : Length up to 6in (15cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Passeriformes
Family : Maluridae -- Genus : Malurus -- Species : M. lamberti

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