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At last! A pic of my beautiful male Superb Fairy Wren (Malurus cyaneus) in all his breeding glory, with his missus in the background. They are so quick and flighty, it’s extremely difficult to catch them with my big lens, and although they will come quite close, somehow the 200mm lens isn’t quite good enough. But just the other day, he was so busy impressing his girlfriend that he didn’t seem to mind me at all, and I was able to creep up very close.
These tiny birds, no more than a few inches (the book says 14 cm) from stem to stern, are quite common in Adelaide Hills gardens, but these birds are susceptible to cat attacks and apparently to snake predation on their nests, which are often quite low to the ground. The male is mostly quite colourful, showing lots of blue, but he really comes into his own in the breeding season, when his splendid plumage draws the eye from anywhere in the garden. The female, while dull olive and seemingly quite drab, is really a very pretty bird in her own right, with a bright eye and that perky tail!
It is lovely to watch the juvenile birds gradually begin exhibiting their extreme sexual dimorphism as they mature, with the boy birds showing more and more blue as the season progresses. I actually quite like them when they’re still a bit tatty, a bit of blue here and there…
Outside my living room window, I put breadcrumbs on a table and these little charmers visit many times a day, just about a metre and half from where I sit at the laptop.
Balhannah, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, August 12 2011.
Canon EOS 400D, Canon 400mm EF L lens, f/5.6.
1/250th, ISO 800, shutter priority mode.
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