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Beauty among the thorns

Beauty among the thorns: a male Superb Fairy-wren lands briefly on old blackberry canes in between foraging. They are active and flit about seeking insects and sometimes fruitlets. All members gather food and bring it to the growing nestlings until they fledge, when the dominant male and unattached adults take over their care and leave the female able to nest again. She can often raise two or three families in a good season.

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In a group of Superb Fairy-Wrens, there may be a preponderance of brown birds, but not all are females. Most are junior males who moult into female-like plumage at summer’s end and when spring breeding time comes around, turn back into blue plumage. It is the older males aged over four or five years who might retain the nuptial blue plumage despite the moulting process.

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