Superb Fairy-Wren (Malurus cyaneus) Photographed on Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia

Daily Creature 75: Superb Fairy-Wren

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Superb Fairy-Wren (Malurus cyaneus) Photographed on Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia

Superb Fairy-Wren

(Malurus cyaneus)

The Superb Fairywren is officially Australia’s favorite bird! It was voted number one in a national poll conducted by Birdlife Australia in 2013. This is partly due to the brilliant blue plumage of the breeding males, as well as its common presence in the backyard feeders of the highly populated coasts of the southeast.

Some say the Superb Fairywren is the least faithful bird in the world. They have a very unusual mating system where a group of males cooperate with a single female to raise her young, and yet up to 75% of all the young are sired by males from outside that group! According to Mulder Lab, this is the highest incidence of “cuckoldry” known. (Definition of Cuckold: a man whose wife has sex with someone else.) One report recorded a single female mating with 13 males in a half hour period.

Photographed on Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia

Superb Fairy-Wren (Malurus cyaneus) Photographed on Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia
Superb Fairy-Wren (Malurus cyaneus) Photographed on Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia

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