SPECIES: Malurus coronatus coronatus — Purple-crowned Fairy-wren (western)


Meet the Purple-crowned Fairy-wren. It's quite a small, shy bird and while colouring of plumage will vary according to age and sex, mostly they are brown above, white below, with a long, perky blue tail. During the breeding season, in order to make himself more attractive, the male developes a bright purple crown. This remarkable adaptation certainly makes him quite the stand-out for the ladies.

The Purple-crowned Fairy-wren is only known from 13 locations in WA and NT, each of which is a small and scattered population. Found in pairs or small groups, the Purple-crowned Fairy-wren prefers the dense vegetation along waterways. As a species, they are particularly habitat-dependant.

The fate of the population of the Purple-crowned Fairy-wren rests on the perhaps 10,000 birds that remain. Threats to the species include loss and degradation of their habitat - contributed by pastoral activity and weed invasion, which prevents native vegetation regeneration. Floods and fire also pose a dangerous threat to their survival.

Photo: P Barden

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