Backyard Buddies
Superb Fairy-wren

Photo: Rosie Nicolai

Superb Fairy-wren

Go Back

Superb fairy-wrens are also known as blue wrens.

They live as a family group. Only the mother sits on the eggs, the others in the group feed and protect the babies allowing the mother to lay up to three broods per season.

Fairy-wrens have weak powers of flight but have long legs and spend most of their time on the ground or in shrubs, progressing in a series of hops as they gather food.

They forage in a group, with insects disturbed by one bird often eaten by another.

Nest building is done entirely by the female in 3–4 days, using spiders’ webs, fine twigs and grass then lined with wool, feathers or animal hair.

In families of superb fairy-wrens it seems that fathers get all the good looks.

The dazzling blue feathers on the breeding male’s head, neck and tail will certainly catch your eye if you’re lucky enough to have them in your area. These beautiful birds are not at all shy of humans and have been known to skip merrily among people sitting on a terrace or verandah.

Somewhere nearby will be a group of small brown birds. These are the females, and ‘stay at home’ children of previous broods.

These fascinating little families of birds may well be your neighbours.

Keep an eye out for them in your backyard or local park or bushland.

The family group guards a small-scale empire, which includes a safe retreat of dense shrubs. Open areas of lawn or leaf mulch are the rich food bowl for these birds. Your backyard or park can become a better home for superb fairy-wrens.

Simple things that you do can make a huge difference to Australia’s animals. That’s why the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is running Backyard Buddies – to give you tips to help.

What is a backyard buddy?

Backyard buddies are the native animals that share our built up areas, our beaches and waterways, our backyards and our parks. The superb fairy-wren is a backyard buddy.

Backyard buddies are also the local people who value the living things around them, like the superb fairy-wren, and are willing to protect and encourage them by doing a few simple things around their own homes.

So you can be a backyard buddy.

Be a backyard buddy

It’s easy. All you have to do is care... and take a few simple steps.

Step one is to find out what superb fairy-wrens do and don’t like.

Superb fairy-wrens love:

Protection from predators – thickets of shrubs, with prickly branches or leaves can provide a place to retreat from danger.

Safe nesting sites – they like to build a nest about 1 metre above the ground among tightly packed shrubs.

Eating insects – grasshoppers are a favourite.

Areas of lawn or leaf mulch – insects that live here provide a ready food supply for fairy-wrens.

But they don’t like:

Cats and dogs – which can frighten or even attack them.

Garden pesticides – which kill insects and prevent them finding enough to eat.

Be a superb fairy-wren buddy

Try to:

Avoid:

Don’t be surprised if:

Find out more about your buddies

SIGN UP: to receive regular B-mails about animals you’re likely to see in your backyard with tips on how to make your backyard friendly for them.