Hybrid Wren?

To: "Paul and Irene Osborn" <>
Subject: Hybrid Wren?
From: Harvey Perkins <>
Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 11:42:52 +1000
>The birders saw a Fairy-Wren which was "all black with red  shoulders,
>purplish >blue cap & ear coverts" and claim this to be a hybrid  between a
>Variegated >Fairy Wren and a Red-backed Fairy Wren. Does anyone have  any
>experience of >such a thing or any other ideas as to what they may have

A couple of years ago a similar discussion came up on Birding-aus and I
wrote the following in response to an apparent observation of a hybrid
Fairy-wren near Wauchope by Edwin Vella.

"This reminded me of an observation I made on 21 November 1998 on a property
just outside of Clarence Town, about 30 km NW of Newcastle (about 100km to
the south of Wauchope??? - I don't have any maps with me).

I didn't have optimal views unfortunately. I quote from my trip report I
made at the time:

There was also a family of Superb Fairy-wrens living in the bushes and
creepers around the water tanks, but amongst them I kept seeing a very
peculiar looking individual.  The notes I made on my Micro-cassette
recorder at the time, or rather in the car while leaving "Cottonwoods" a
few minutes later, are as follows:

"It looked like it must have been a male - it certainly wasn't just a plain
all over dull sort of colour - it had no blue on it, but it had rufous
edges around the nape of the neck and on the elbows of the wing, but there
was no blue across the mantle, it was just a pale buff sort of colour. The
rufousness in the brown certainly wasn't like a Superb Fairy-wren, maybe
more like a Variegated but I didn't see any other Variegateds; Mary also
thought she caught a glimpse of a Red-backed Fairy-wren which must have
been wrong but maybe it was a flash of a Variegated that might have been
mixed in there - I guess there's even a possibility of hybrids... At the
moment it's still a mystery"

At the time I thought Red-backed Fairy-wrens could be ruled out because
they would be out of normal range, but maybe this is not the case and Mary
is vindicated in her comment!"



Dr Harvey D. Perkins                      ::  Editor,                   :
School of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology::  Canberra Bird Notes,      :
The Australian National University        ::  Journal of the Canberra   :
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