More Mr & Ms Twiggy Legs

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Annie W
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More Mr & Ms Twiggy Legs

When all the others are in hiding, these sweeties can usually be counted on to make an appearance - for which I am grateful wink 

Chris F
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Same here Ruby.

Do the males normally have such a soft colour, or has the photo picked up the colour from the wall he is on?

I haven't seen one here (SE Qld) in quite those shades.

Chris

kerry
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great pics there i love this site looking at all the different birds  

kerry

Annie W
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Chris F wrote:

Same here Ruby.

Do the males normally have such a soft colour, or has the photo picked up the colour from the wall he is on?

I haven't seen one here (SE Qld) in quite those shades.

Chris

This time of year, most of our males do seem to be very soft Chris, although, after looking through a heap of other wren pics, they seem to vary greatly - I'm going to hazard a guess that age might have a lot to do with "depth" of colour?  Having said that, I was very surprised to see a Superb male still in full breeding plumage last week...guess he didn't get the memo? laughlaugh

NW Tasmania

Woko
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Ruby, the one still in full, startling, vibrant breeding plumage is about four years old or more. This I read in the Reader's Digest Complete Book of Australian Birds.  

Annie W
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Woko wrote:

Ruby, the one still in full, startling, vibrant breeding plumage is about four years old or more. This I read in the Reader's Digest Complete Book of Australian Birds.  

Fantastic!  Thanks Woko.  So, and this varies greatly amongst sites, given the average lifespan is 5-6 years, this little guy could probably be considered a senior cit wink  I'm liking the sound of your RD Complete Book of Australian Birds more & more Woko.  Must go out and check out a copy myself later in the week.

NW Tasmania

Woko
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Yes, I often refer to it for interesting information about birds. I hope it's still in print.

Araminta
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Over time I have posted countless photos of my favourit birds, the Superb Fairy Wren, many of the different stages in colour transitions. This time of the year, after the breeding season has finished,all the male Wrens have moulted back into their non-breeding plumage, the eclipse. Before they reach the eclipse, they go through the same stages they moult into the breeding plumage, but in reverse. Over winter, when the males don't breed, they all look like that. Only the blue tail is retained, and a blue tinge.

(but I do assume ,you have done some work on your photo, like photoshop or similar? The way the bird looks doesn't look natural to me either.)

M-L

Araminta
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Here is one male, photo taken in March. Almost finished eclipse.

M-L

Araminta
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here is what they looked like in February.

M-L

Annie W
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.

edit: double post

NW Tasmania

Annie W
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Lol, no, wrong assumption I'm afraid smiley.  I don't have or use photoshop, and having seen other peoples shots post-processed with it, I daresay I would be disappinted if I did & came up with that shot as the end result laughlaugh.  Wouldn't mind learning one day though as the creative aspects of the program really interest me.  Now if I can only find the time for that...laugh  So, aside from a slight crop, that is how it came out of my camera.  Perhaps the angle, or the wall as Chris said, or just a dodgy photographic day for me - I have had mystery hand tremors for a few months which can lead to some pretty "interesting" shots sad - although to be honest, "in the flesh" some males here at present, do look just the same to me as in this shot.

Here is another shot of one of our "soft" boys, taken today.  A little underexposed, slightly more vibrant than above, but still quite pale.  Again, except for a tiny crop, as taken.  I lived in S.A. for almost 30 years and noticed that the Wren's here do differ greatly from even there.  Perhaps a Tassie quirk, a little like the Grey Fantail here in Tas which I recall reading is "supposed" to be the darkest of all the States?  Although someone else may be able to correct me there. 

NW Tasmania

Araminta
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I don't have photoshop either. I think the male eclips in my photo looks as soft as yours? My photo hasn't been manipulated , only cropped a little. I believe mine looks that soft, because the focus is on the tail of the bird, and the sun was behind me, (as it should bewink) it gives it that soft light on the chest.

M-L

pacman
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RubyE wrote:

Perhaps a Tassie quirk, a little like the Grey Fantail here in Tas which I recall reading is "supposed" to be the darkest of all the States? 

the Simpson & Day guide is usually good at providing info on the various races of a species

Grey Fantail - race keasti is stated as being very dark above, the race is in North and Far North Qld (above the Tropic of Capricorn), the sketch has it as the darkest

Superb Fairywren - says the Tas birds are race cyaneus, and are slightly larger, brighter and longer-tailed 

Peter

Annie W
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pacman wrote:
RubyE wrote:

Perhaps a Tassie quirk, a little like the Grey Fantail here in Tas which I recall reading is "supposed" to be the darkest of all the States? 

the Simpson & Day guide is usually good at providing info on the various races of a species

Grey Fantail - race keasti is stated as being very dark above, the race is in North and Far North Qld (above the Tropic of Capricorn), the sketch has it as the darkest

Superb Fairywren - says the Tas birds are race cyaneus, and are slightly larger, brighter and longer-tailed 

Very interesting Peter, thankyou for that - it can get very confusing state to state when there are various races but only miniscule (in some cases) differences.  Thanks again.

NW Tasmania

Annie W
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For sure M-L - sun behind, or over the shoulder, certainly a good tip for any beginners.  Although too much sun & you get dreaded flared (blown-out) highlights on chests & heads etc, and lose some lovely detail - I learnt that the hard way in the early days, ruining some potentially beautiful Pacific Robin shots.  I suppose too though, dusk, dawn, shade or weather conditions can make that rule moot to a point.  I kinda like flouting the rules anyway - particularly with other genre's of photography.  Some spectacular shots can be created in portrait photography for example by not having the sun behind the photographer....just a matter of personal preference & what you're going for at the time.

NW Tasmania

Araminta
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RubyE wrote:

For sure M-L - sun behind, or over the shoulder, certainly a good tip for any beginners. 

Thanks for that advice RubyE, laugh  I'm the first one to admit, there is a lot for me to learn until my photos can be called good wink. I'm one of those people who will appreciate any good advice I can get, so if you can help, feel free to do so.

M-L

Annie W
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No advice intended laugh, just my random ramblings.  Doubt whether or not I have any helpful tips, but will check the "Photography Tips & Tricks" section from time to time for sure - that is, when I'm not posting in it for help myself laughlaugh

NW Tasmania

Chris F
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Very interesting advice everyone.

We have several families of Blue Wrens here, I think at least three separate ones. (Victoria Point, SE Qld)

In one group, the males are in full exclipse,

in the second group, I think about half way changed,

but in the third and largest family group, with at least three fledglings still being fed by the females, the male is still in bright breeding plumage with no sign of changing yet.

No idea why this is  - I've only just started observing details and photographing birds this year in January and until some earlier posts had no idea they had an eclipse phase.

Before that I just assumed the blue ones had gone somewhere elsewink

Chris

Araminta
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Sorry to answer the question Chris asked on your thread RubyE 

Chris, last year I had several pairs breeding in my garden. There were some fledglings around in late April, and they also had another clutch, but later that one was abandoned. Birds know best, but also make mistakes from time to time.ometimes the first brood in the season is also lost.

M-L

Woko
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Chris, the male still in breeding plumage is about 4 years old. Male superb fairy-wrens of around this age don't go into eclipse plumage.

Has anyone ever seen blue feathers from a male fairy-wren? If not, does this mean the feathers change colour rather than moult?

Araminta
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Woko, I have lived in this house for 17 years, I observed hundreds (or more?) of Superb Fairy Wrens , I have a few hundred (or more?) photos of them at different stages in their lives, from changing into and out of the breeding plumage. Have many photos of them courting, mating, breeding, nesting, coming out and like right now going into winter. I should think some of the males would make it to 4 years? (unless they got eaten by the neighbour's cats?), where are the males that retain their breeding colours? Not at my place I have yet to see one. As I can see most of the areas where Wrens live, I will have my eyes glued to my garden. Can anyone tell me, why I haven't seen any?

(again, sorry Ruby for using your thread)

M-L

pacman
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Woko wrote:

the male still in breeding plumage is about 4 years old. Male superb fairy-wrens of around this age don't go into eclipse plumage.

I seem to recall that Holly did her research on SFWs, maybe she can answer this question

Peter

Annie W
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Beastly careless about hijacking when it's relevant laugh.

I was intrigued by Woko's information the other day, and then further by the Red-backed Fairy Wrens Chris F posted earlier.  After some further curious delving, seems males of the Red-backed species may also retain their full plumage around the age of 4. 

Some information/research also shows that some males (of the Red-backed species again), may even look as though they are in moult for their entire 3rd year, that is until they mature to 4 and retain that full plumage.  I'm not sure if this applies to Superbs also though?

As to why they're not showing up near you ML?  Curiouser & curiouser!  The information on lifespan, for both the Superb & Red-backed seems to be a little conflicting, wherever I look anyway - with 10 years being stated as the "expected"....4-6 years as the "average", but just as many stating average lifespan is only 2 years - so perhaps that is the answer to your question?

How frustrating!  You finally get to a ripe "old" age of 4, think you have the advantage (or a leg-up, so to speak wink laugh) over the other, younger males - of not having to wait for your breeding plumage to come in - but you're close to kicking the bucket?  Doesn't seem fair really.

Sorry, but my reading was as complicated as Googling "Red-backed Fairy Wren Plumage" to start with, and then bouncing from one link to another - be interesting when I have some more time to go back through & try & find out which are the more recent research findings, and to delve into a well researched book or 10 to compare.  Look forward to reading others' findings!

NW Tasmania

pacman
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some interesting findings

RubyE wrote:
Beastly careless about hijacking when it's relevant laugh.

It's your thread - hijack away

Peter

Annie W
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pacman wrote:

some interesting findings

RubyE wrote:
Beastly careless about hijacking when it's relevant laugh.

It's your thread - hijack away

laughlaugh I should have remembered to put that comment was in reference to ML apologising for hijacking, sorry.  You gave me a laugh pacman laugh

NW Tasmania

Araminta
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Now, after a bit of thinking, I have one more idea. Most people, including Woko, will remember last year when I followed a pair of S Fairy Wrens, through all the stages , including mating and nesting. But then something happened to the male, while she was sitting on the nest, he got attacked by a rival and lost one leg. It took a week for him to learn how to sit or walk (hop). She then chose a new male. That could, (most likely is) what happens to the older males. In a garden like mine, and that many wrens, the older males might get attacked and either driven out, or killed? Here is the unfortunate guy with only one leg. He did hang around for some time before he disappeared,

The reason why I don't have any older males could be simply because I have that many of them, there is more competition, and the old get killed by the young?

M-L

Araminta
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Hi Ruby, the above is the answer to your questionwink

M-L

Annie W
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Ummm, did I have a question ML?  I forget. smiley  That could well be your answer then ML.  Eureka!

Going slightly off-topic again, as not relating to Superbs... but I thought this may be as interesting to some as it was to me.  And quite possibly I'm sharing something already widely known, so my apologies if I'm posting something previously covered.

Young Red-backed Fairy-Wrens have three distinct "types" of males (during breeding season).

  • Brightly coloured breeders - The robust and most healthy develop brightly-coloured plumage (alphas).

and two "subordinate" types:

  • Dull-coloured breeders - Less healthy males who retain a female-like plumage, but have a black bill like the brightly coloured males.
  • Dull-coloured helpers - Least aggressive males who also retain a female-like plumage, including a pale bill like a female.

What fascinated me the most though was that, "...if a brightly coloured male leaves a territory, dull-coloured males will change their bill or plumage colour to move up on the male social ladder".

So, I wonder, if they can change from dull to bright, can they also do it in reverse, say if a Brightly coloured breeder is pushed down the social ladder?  And, does this extend to any of the other 11 species in the genus Malurus?  Anyone know?  Sadly I don't laughlaugh

NW Tasmania

Araminta
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RubyE said:

Ummm, did I have a question ML? I forget. That could well be your answer then ML. Eureka!

Well RubyE, I thought you did, I just tried to give you some answers, because I don't have any questions myself. I'm quite certain about most topics concerning Superb Fairy Wrens.

M-L

Annie W
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Araminta wrote:

RubyE said:

Ummm, did I have a question ML? I forget. That could well be your answer then ML. Eureka!

Well RubyE, I thought you did, I just tried to give you some answers, because I don't have any questions myself. I'm quite certain about most topics concerning Superb Fairy Wrens.

Nope, can't see any original questions above from me regarding Superbs - except for my comment about full plumage in the first post that Woko originally explained.  Whew, that's good, thought I was becoming forgetful laugh All fine though - I think you may be thinking of Chris F's questions, and those of your own regarding retaining full plumage, which have all now been kindly answered, or nutted out by yourself winksmiley 

NW Tasmania

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