Proud Performance of a Tiny Marvel: The Purple-crowned Fairywren – A Delicate Beauty with Its Black Eye Liner and Radiant Purple Crown!

A tiny bird sporting a fluorescent purple crown that makes for a very welcome sight on a dull winter’s day!

Meet the Purple-crowned fairywren

Photo Courtesy of Graham Winterflood/CC BY-SA 2.0

The purple-crowned fairywren (Malurus coronatus) is a species of bird in the Australasian Maluridae wren family. The male of this species is easily distinguished by his purple crown with a black eye line and collar during the breeding season. It is otherwise distinguished by its cheek patches and the deep blue color of its tail. Overall their plumage is brown, with the wings a more greyish brown and the belly buff cream.

The bill is black and the legs and feet, a brownish-grey.

Females of this species look very similar to the male, only lacking his purple crown, having rusty cheek patch instead of his black eye line.

Purple-crowned fairywren, live in the wet-dry tropical areas of northern Australia, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, as well as the Victoria River region of the Northern Territory, down into the south-western sub-coastal region of the Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland.

These birds are known as riparian habitat specialists that love patches of dense river-fringing vegetation in Northern Australia. Loving well-developed mid-story foliage, composed mostly of dense shrubs alongside permanent freshwater creeks and rivers, as seen in the Kimberley region. As well as tall, dense river grass of the Victoria River District.

Mainly insectivorous, Purple-crowned fairywren dine on small invertebrates like beetles, ants, bugs, wasps, grasshoppers, moths, larvae, spiders, and worms, as well as quantities of seeds.

Breeding can occur at any time of the year as long as conditions are suitable. Most nests appear to be built close to the ground in thickets of river grass by the female. Dome-shaped, the nest consists of fine rootlets, grass, leaves, and strips of bark. A clutch of 2-3 eggs is laid over successive days, incubated by the female for 14 days. After hatching, the chicks are fully fledged in around 10 days. However, they are unable to fly and stay in dense cover for a week being fed by family members.

The Purple-crowned fairywren itself is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN. However, two recognized subspecies are receiving national conservation management listings. The western subspecies have gone from Vulnerable, to endangered. The eastern subspecies meet the criteria for Near Threatened. Loss of habitat is the main threat to this species due to dam building and the introduction of sheep and cattle.

Watch this bird right here in the video below: