Red-winged Fairywren

The Red-winged Fairywren is a passerine bird species that belongs to the Maluridae family. It is endemic to the south-west corner of Western Australia. This bird was first described scientifically by John Gould in 1837.

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A male red-winged fairywren

This bird is one of the largest fairywrens. It is 15 cm long and weighs about 8 to 11 grams. The average tail length of this bird is about 7.5 centimetres which is one of the longest tail measurements in its genus. Their bill is long, with bills around 9.3 – 10 mm long. They are also narrow, pointed, and wider at the base.

Red-winged Fairywrens have marked sexual dimorphism. Males have a visible breeding plumage of iridescent blue, chestnut, black, and grey-brown. During breeding, male adult plumage is a silvery blue with red-brown shoulders and a black throat and nape. Females, juveniles, and non-breeding males are grey-brown in colour. All males have a black bill and eye-ring, while females have a black bill and a pale grey eye-ring. During autumn, they will moult.

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This bird prefers Karri and Jarrah forests

Its preferred habitat is the wetter corner of Western Australia. This ranges from Moore River which is north of Perth, as far south-west as Albany. It prefers the understorey of Jarrah and Karri trees. Interestingly enough, older forests are not favoured by the Red-winged Fairywren. Instead, it is actually attracted to disturbed areas after logging.

They are an active feeder. They forage in low shrubs and bracken, as well as leaf-litter. At times, it will ascent trees especially in the autumn and late summer as the flaking bark of eucalyptus trees are a great source of anthropods. It eats a number of small creatures such as ants, beetles, bugs, spiders, and caterpillars.

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