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


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)

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


Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Nicolas Day, Ken Simpson, Peter Trusler Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Nicolas Day, Ken Simpson, Peter Trusler.This is known to birdwatchers as "Simpson and Day". I like the pictures in this one the best out of all the major field guides. The information is still very highly regarded compared to most of the other guides. Many serious birdwatchers think "Pizzey and Knight" (listed here) is the best though. I bought this one since I liked the pictures so much I figured (correctly) that I would spend more time looking through it. I feel that I made the right choice since I love the pictures in this one so much. I have the 6th edition, the current one is the updated version of the 8th edition, which has a different colour cover to the original 8th edition with a black cover. I'm not sure why they haven't called this the 9th edition.

Purchase 8th ed. updated from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase 8th ed. updated from Australia (Angus & Robertson)

Click here to purchase 8th ed. updated version from Australia (The Nile)

Click here to purchase from Australia (Fishpond)

Click here to purchase 8th ed. original version from Amazon

See Also

Australian Bird Field Guides

Return to Australian Birds
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