Superb Fairy-wren - Malurus cyaneus

Superb Fairy-wren

Malurus cyaneus

Family: Maluridae (Fairy-wrens, Emu-wrens, Grasswrens, 20 species in Australia)
Size: 14 cm (But they look smaller since their tails are often pointed up in the air)
Distribution: The Eastern 2/3 of NSW, Most of VIC, TAS, Several hundred km into SE QLD and small parts of SE SA
Status: Common
Habitat: Open forests, swamps, coastal areas, rainforests, gardens. Often on the ground and in family groups.
References: Simpson and Day, Reader's Digest

The Superb Fairy-wren is a lovely bird (there is another species that is actually called the Lovely Fairy-wren, but it is only found in far North QLD). It is often seen in gardens and parks in the Blue Mountains. They are usually on the ground or near it and rarely seen alone.

In the breeding season, half of the adult male bird develops a bright blue/black colouring, like in the photos below. When not in breeding colours, he looks similar to the brown ones in the photos below (which is how the females look all year round).

One of their calls is a trill that descends in pitch and is quite recognisable once you get to know the sound of it.

Superb Fairy-wren - Malurus cyaneus
Photo: Blaxland, Blue Mountains NSW. High Resolution (995 x 712)

Superb Fairy-wren - Malurus cyaneus
Photo: Blaxland, Blue Mountains NSW.

Superb Fairy-wren - Malurus cyaneus
Photo: Blaxland, Blue Mountains NSW.

Superb Fairy-wren - Malurus cyaneus
Photo: Blaxland, Blue Mountains NSW.

Superb Fairy-wren - Malurus cyaneus
Photo: Blaxland, Blue Mountains NSW.

Superb Fairy-wren - Malurus cyaneus
Artwork: John Gould, 'The Birds of Australia', 1848. Original Scanned Image.

Some Birdwatching Resources


Field Guide to Australian Birds: Complete Compact Edition, by Michael Morcombe NEW: Field Guide to Australian Birds: Complete Compact Edition, by Michael Morcombe. Based on the above larger book. It's a while since I've seen this one. The publisher's commentary says that "This slimline, compact edition contains the same information on mainland and Tasmanian birds as his best-selling handbook, the Field Guide to Australian Birds. Features include plastic jacket, QuickFind system of colour tags and Quick Index ensure durability and ease of use in the field."

Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase from Australia (Angus & Robertson)


The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight. This is the other of the two best bird field guides for Australia. It is the one preferred by many serious birdwatchers. However I find the pictures a bit dull looking for my taste — the birds all kind of look the same to me, making it harder to remember them in my mind. The illustrations are meant to be the most anatomically correct, though. The text descriptions are better than in Simpson and Day. If you want the most serious bird field guide get this one otherwise get Simpson and Day.

Purchase 9th ed. from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase 9th ed. from Australia (Angus & Robertson)

Purchase 9th ed. from Australia (Dymocks)

Click here to purchase 9th ed. from Australia (The Nile)

Click here to purchase from Australia (Fishpond)

Click here to preorder the 9th ed. from Amazon

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Superb Fairy-wren - Malurus cyaneus

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