Fairy Wrens ID

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Fairy Wrens ID
From: "Bob & Sadhana Cook" <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 18:09:33 +1000
Hi birders

I have a request.  I spend a lot of frustrating time trying to be sure of
the identification of female, juvenile and non-breeding Fairy Wrens.  The
species I encounter here in far North West Victoria and far South West NSW
are Superb (cyanochlamys or leggei), Splendid (melanotus), Variegated
(assimilis) and White-winged.  I understand there are variations within each
species depending on stage of the breeding cycle, age of juveniles and also
geographic.  Does anyone have any good tips on how to be sure when in the
field and trying to catch them as they hop around??  I generally use crown
colour (brown or grey), lores and eye-ring colour (pale orange, dark orange
or none), any blue in the wing and depth of blue (if any) in the tail.

I still find I make mistakes and sometimes find contradictions relative to
what is in the Field Guides.  The two guides I use (Simpson & Day and
Morcombe) both are fairly inaccurate in colours (in my opinion) and
(understandably) do not cover all variations that occur in each species.  An
associated question is whether any two of the above species actually
associate very closely in the field - that is, moving closely together in
the same group at the same time.  This would explain some "inconsistencies"
I have seen.  I have seen two species in groups just a few metres, say 10 -
20, apart.

Any tips appeciated.

Bob Cook
NW Victoria

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