"Black" White-winged Fairy Wren

To: Jill Dening <>
Subject: "Black" White-winged Fairy Wren
From: Tony Russell <>
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 23:11:23 +0900
Hi Jill, Interesting interesting. I've seen similar VERY dark WWFWs just
north of Broken Hill on the Tibooburra Rd. I too have been forced to cave
in to pressure from birding friends, but I'm still sure they were nearly
black. Maybe the island has moved inland a bit.  I read somewhere that on
the WA coast close to Hartog Island there have been some reports of dark
birds on the mainland, and even some blue birds on the island itself.
Still, a fair step from Broken Hill though.
I've been waiting for some years for someone else to raise this as a sighting.
Cheers, and let's know what sorts of replies you get.
Tony (Adelaide)

At 05:14  30/08/00 +1000, you wrote:
>Hello all,
>I was recently in the Menindee Lakes area near Broken Hill, far
>western NSW with my husband. White-winged Fairy Wrens (WWFW) abound
>in the area. On our last afternoon there, we both saw a male which
>appeared to be black in all the parts where it should be blue. The
>view was close, say 5m through binos, and unhindered, but brief. The
>group flew off. We relocated them a minute or so later, when my
>husband saw the male again (how can we know if it was the same
>bird?), but declared it to be blue. He said that we must have made a
>mistake. Perhaps he was correct, and I let it slide. As black WWFWs
>should only be on an island off the WAust coast, I assumed I was
>losing my marbles.
>I didn't give it another thought, until last night, when I received a
>call from Geoff Looney, a birdwatching and fishing guide at Menindee.
>Geoff was ringing to confirm that he, also, had finally seen the
>Olive-backed Orioles (out of regular distribution area) which we had
>seen on 16.8.00 in Kinchega NP. Geoff also said that he had just seen
>a WWFW male, with black where it should be white. How very
>interesting, I thought. I asked him if perhaps he might have mistaken
>the colour in poor light, and he claimed that this was not the case.
>Then I told him that we also had seen what might have been such a
>specimen after we had said goodbye to him.
>I am wary of claiming that I saw a pied bird, but I did think at the
>time that it was. I'd appreciate some opinion from others, and would
>also ask people going to that area to be on the lookout. We saw our
>bird on the track next to the railway between Menindee and Copi
>Hollow Caravan Park.
>Jill Dening
>Sunshine Coast, Qld
>26º 51'        152º 56'
>Birding-Aus is on the Web at
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   ADELAIDE BIRDING with Tony Russell. South Australia by 4WD
   phone : 08 8337 5959  , o/s 61 8 8337 5959
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