Meet The Incredible White-Winged Fairywren Bird

The White-winged Fairywren (Malurus leucopterus) is a species of passerine bird in the fairywren family Maluridae. It lives in the drier parts of central Australia; from central Queensland and South Australia across to Western Australia. Like other fairywrens, this species displays marked sexual dimorphism and one or more males of a social group grow brightly colored plumage during the breeding season. The female is sandy-brown with light-blue tail feathers; it is smaller than the male, which, in breeding plumage, has a bright-blue body, black bill, and white wings.

Breeding males are usually brilliant sapphire blue with bright white wing patches. Females and nonbreeding males are very plain pale gray, and the patch between the eye and bill (lores) is also pale (compared to Purple-backed Fairywren which has very dark reddish lores). This species is typically found in the very open and arid country with sparse bushes where it often perches on the very top of bushes. Its call is a very fast trill. (Source)

Younger sexually mature males are almost indistinguishable from females and are often the breeding males. A troop of White-winged Fairywrens in spring and summer has a brightly colored older male accompanied by small, inconspicuous brown birds, many of which are also male. Three subspecies are recognized. Apart from the mainland subspecies, one is found on Dirk Hartog Island, and another on Barrow Island off the coast of Western Australia. Males from these islands have black rather than blue breeding plumage.

The white-winged fairywren is found from Dirk Hartog Island and the coast of Western Australia east across mainland (not north) to central and southern Queensland, central New South Wales, and NW Victoria. It is replaced by the Red-backed Fairy-wren north of 20 degrees South.

The White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) has been poorly surveyed. There have not been any published systematic surveys, and the single population estimate is purely speculative. However, the White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) is common and widespread on Dirk Hartog Island (Johnstone & Storr 2004; Whitlock 1921) and, given the relatively small area over which it occurs (approximately 200 km² [Garnett & Crowley 2000]), and the relative uniformity of the vegetation on Dirk Hartog Island (Brooker 2007, pers. comm.), its distribution on the island is presumed to be reasonably well known.

It is possible that birds may occasionally disperse to the adjacent mainland: black-plumaged birds, presumably originating from Dirk Hartog Island, have occasionally been reported on the Peron Peninsula (Driskell et al. 2002; Pizzey 1980; Schodde & Mason 1999). However, due to a lack of corroborative material, these reports cannot be confirmed (Schodde & Mason 1999).

The extent of occurrence is estimated, with high reliability, to be 420 km². There is no evidence of a historical change in the extent of occurrence. The extent of occurrence is currently stable (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The area of occupancy is estimated, with high reliability, to be 200 km². There is no evidence of a historical change in the area of occupancy. The area of occupancy is currently stable (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) occurs at a single location, Dirk Hartog Island, in Western Australia (Schodde & Mason 1999).

The White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) is considered to be widespread on Dirk Hartog Island (Johnstone & Storr 2004; Wells & Wells 1974; Whitlock 1921), where it occurs in most habitats (Garnett & Crowley 2000). On the basis of this information, it is presumed that its distribution is not severely fragmented.

The population size of the White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) has been estimated twice: one estimate, considered to be of low reliability, determined the population size to be 40 000 adult birds (Garnett & Crowley 2000); a second estimate, based on probable territory sizes and the area of suitable habitat available on Dirk Hartog Island, determined the population size to be 7 000 adult birds (Brooker 2007, pers. comm.). There is evidence to suggest that the former estimate greatly overestimates the actual population size.

The White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) is restricted to Dirk Hartog Island and has an extent of occurrence of only about 200 km² (Garnett & Crowley 2000). Based on the larger population estimate of 40 000 adult birds (or 20 000 breeding pairs), each breeding pair would occupy, on average, a territory of about 1 ha in size. This seems rather small given the territories of the mainland subspecies Mlleuconotus are known to range from about 1.5 to 6 ha in size (Higgins et al. 2001; Rowley & Russell 1995; Tidemann 1980, 1990). Considering the estimates of territory size for the mainland subspecies, and that the density of White-winged Fairy-wrens on Dirk Hartog Island is likely to be lower than on Barrow Island (which, based on field surveys, is estimated to support about 7 500 to 9 500 birds of subspecies Mledouardi [Bamford & Bamford 2005b; Pruett-Jones & O’Donnell 2004]) because of grazing by sheep Ovis aries and goats Capra hircus and the presence of House Mice Mus musculus and cats Felis catus on Dirk Hartog Island (Brooker 2007, pers. comm.; Garnett & Crowley 2000), the more conservative estimate of 7 000 adult birds (or 3 500 breeding pairs) was proposed (Brooker 2007, pers. comm.).

The population size of the White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) is currently stable. There is no evidence for a historical decline in population size. The White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) has persisted on Dirk Hartog Island despite the introduction of sheep, goats and cats; occasional extensive fires; and intensive grazing by sheep at the southern end of the island (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The generation length is estimated, with medium reliability, to be two years (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

No interbreeding has been recorded between the White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) and any other subspecies of the White-winged Fairy-wren. However, genetic analysis suggests that White-winged Fairy-wrens (Dirk Hartog Island) interbred in the past with the mainland subspecies Mlleuconotus. There is evidence to indicate that this interbreeding has ceased, although given the proximity of Dirk Hartog Island to the adjacent mainland (about 2 km), and that unconfirmed sightings of black-plumaged birds have occasionally been reported on the Peron Penisula (Driskell et al. 2002; Pizzey 1980; Schodde & Mason 1999) (the breeding plumage of males on the mainland is blue rather than black [Higgins et al. 2001; Johnstone & Storr 2004] and, therefore, black-plumaged birds are presumed to originate from Dirk Hartog Island), it is possible that some occasional interbreeding may continue to occur (Driskell et al. 2002).

Land Tenure of Populations

The entire population of the White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) is confined to Dirk Hartog Island (Schodde & Mason 1999), which occurs within the Shark Bay World Heritage Area.

Habitat

The White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) inhabits low, dense shrublands and heathlands, and open flats dominated by shrubs (such as AcaciaAtriplexDryandraHakeaHalosarciaMelaleucaRhagodiaScaevolaSida and Thryptomene), and that, in some locations, also support some spinifex (Johnstone & Storr 2004; Rathburn & Montgomerie 2003; Wells & Wells 1974; Whitlock 1919, 1921). The White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) occurs from near sea level to the summit of Herald Heights, which at approximately 180 m above sea level, is the highest point on Dirk Hartog Island (Whitlock 1921).

Jon Thornton

Life Cycle

The White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) is capable of breeding at one year of age (Rathburn & Montgomerie 2003). No specific information is available on the life expectancy but, based on observations of the mainland subspecies Mlleuconotus, it is likely to be four or five years (ABBBS 1972; Tidemann 1983). No specific information is available on rates of mortality, but in one study on Dirk Hartog Island, only 33.3% of adults (and only 13.5% of adult females) banded were recaptured in the following year (Rathburn & Montgomerie 2003).

The White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) is a cooperative breeder. The breeding pair is sometimes assisted by a single auxillary male (Rathburn & Montgomerie 2003) and, based on observations of the mainland subspecies Mlleuconotus, probably also at times by a single auxillary female, or perhaps by multiple auxillaries of either sex. Auxillaries help the breeding adults to feed and defend the young (Rowley & Russell 1995; Tidemann 1980, 1983).

The White-winged Fairy-wren lays its eggs from June to September or October (Johnstone & Storr 2004; Rathburn & Montgomerie 2003; Whitlock 1921). The female builds a dome-shaped nest from dried grass, dried sea grass Posidonia, flower heads, seed heads, spider silk, insect cocoons, wool, feathers and plant down (Johnstone & Storr 2004; White 1921). The nest is usually placed near the ground in a dense shrub such as AcaciaAtriplexHakeaRhagodiaScaevolaSida and Thryptomene (Johnstone & Storr 2004; Rathburn & Montgomerie 2003; Wells & Wells 1974; Whitlock 1921). The birds tend to re-nest in the same immediate area, and often in close proximity to their previous nests (Rathburn & Montgomerie 2003).

Clutches consist of two to four, but most commonly three, eggs (Johnstone & Storr 2004; Rathburn & Montgomerie 2003; Whitlock 1921). The eggs are white with reddish-brown or brownish-red spots and blotches, these sometimes forming a cap or zone at the broader end (Johnstone & Storr 2004; White 1921). The eggs are incubated for about 13 days, and the young remain in the nest for about 12 days after hatching (although they are capable of leaving the nest, if disturbed, from eight days of age) (Rathburn & Montgomerie 2003). No information is available on the period of dependence but, based on observations of the mainland subspecies Mlleuconotus, the young are probably fed by the adults for three to five weeks after leaving the nest, and some young birds might remain in their natal group after becoming independent and assist their parents to raise a subsequent brood in the same season (Rowley & Russell 1995; Tidemann 1983).

In the single study of breeding success that has been conducted on Dirk Hartog Island, 69% of eggs hatched, and breeding groups reared a mean of 2.1 young to eight days of age (the age at which young are capable of leaving the nest) per breeding attempt. Of the nests observed during the study, about 40% were subject to predation and about 20% were parasitized by Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx basalis. Common nest predators included snakes, lizards, Pied Butcherbirds Cracticus nigrogularis, Australian Kestrels Falco cenchroides, and feral cats (Rathburn & Montgomerie 2003). Breeding groups are capable of rearing two broods per season (Rathburn & Montgomerie 2003; Whitlock 1921), and possibly more, given that females will rarely lay three or four clutches in a single season (Rathburn & Montgomerie 2003). (Source)

Jon Thornton

Feeding

The White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) feeds on insects and some seeds (Carter 1917; Johnstone & Storr 2004). Based on studies of the mainland subspecies Mlleuconotus, it might also take other invertebrates (such as spiders or slaters) and some fruit (Jackson 1919; Lea & Gray 1935; Tidemann 1983).

There is little published information on the foraging behavior of the White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island). It is said to sally for flying insects (Carter 1917) and, based on studies of the mainland subspecies Mlleuconotus and the Barrow Island subspecies Mledouardi, it probably also forages on the ground and in shrubs and trees, by hopping and plucking (or gleaning) food items (Rowley & Russell 1997; Tidemann 1983; Wooller & Calver 1981).

Movement Patterns

The White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) is sedentary (Pizzey 1980) or, based on observations of the mainland subspecies Mlleuconotus and the Barrow Island subspecies Mledouardi, resident on Dirk Hartog Island (Morris et al. 1981; Rowley & Russell 1997; Saunders & Ingram 1995; Sedgwick 1978). It is possible that there might be some rare movement to the adjacent mainland: black-plumaged birds, presumably originating from Dirk Hartog Island, have been reported on the Peron Peninsula (Driskell et al. 2002; Pizzey 1980; Schodde & Mason 1999). However, due to a lack of corroborative material, these records cannot be confirmed (Schodde & Mason 1999).

Little information is available on the dispersal of the young. In one study, only seven of 66 nestlings banded were recaptured in the following year, and all of these birds (six males and one female) were recaptured in close proximity to their natal sites. Five of the six males that were banded became helpers, and four of these males assisted at the nest of their social father (Rathburn & Montgomerie 2003).

No information is available on the home range of the White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island). However, males in breeding plumage maintain large territories during the breeding season. The territories are occupied by the breeding pair and (where present) a brown-plumaged male helper (Rathburn & Mongomerie 2003). The size of the territories has not been recorded but, based on observations of the mainland subspecies Mlleuconotus, they probably range from about 1.5 to 6 ha in the area (Higgins et al. 2001; Rowley & Russell 1995; Tidemann 1980, 1990).

birdlife.org

Threats

The potential threats to the White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) are habitat loss and degradation, and predation by introduced mammals. The White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) has persisted on Dirk Hartog Island despite the introduction of sheep, goats, house mice and cats; occasional extensive fires; and intensive grazing by sheep at the southern end of the island. This indicates that although these threats may have had some impact on the White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) population, their impact has not been sufficient to cause the extinction of the subspecies. However, Dirk Hartog Island is currently free of rats, which are known to have caused the extinction of other island-dwelling birds. Rats, should they be introduced to Dirk Hartog Island in the future, could potentially have a devastating effect on the White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) population (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The White-winged Fairy-wren (Dirk Hartog Island) is also vulnerable to catastrophic events. This is because the entire population occurs over a small area (about 200 km²) on a narrow island with uniform habitat (Garnett & Crowley 2000). The likelihood and potential impact of a catastrophic event is difficult to predict. However, it is unlikely that a single extensive fire, which is perhaps the most probable catastrophic event, could affect the entire island (Garnett 1993). (Source)

Heart Soothing Stories That Will Make You Think Someone Has Cut Onions

We often have the chance to meet good-hearted people or we encounter the sweetest moments with someone or someone who does a very good deed to us. Or just the cases of humans being just humans might inspire and elevate our spirits. Thus is this collection Today we have chosen for you all some of the most emotional cases of people who run into the sweetest situations from others or they did it themselves.

Bellow, you have all that you need to soothe your heart. I advise every one of you to grab a tissue because someone is going to cut some onions right at night. Yes us Earthwonders we are cutting onions today!

Don’t forget to let us know what do you think about this collection and follow us for more upcoming content.

1. For those with golden heart

KikkakPattyWak

My parents split when I was in first grade. My mom met my step-dad, mark when I was in second grade. We moved in with him by the time I was in 3rd we moved into his house. He treated my siblings and me as his own since day 1. He even would watch Gilmore Girls with me and my sister every afternoon. After my mom died when I was 16, Mark didn’t make us go live with our biological dad. He continued raising us as his own. He started out as my mom’s boyfriend and became my dad, my best friend, my go-to for advice.

Mark ended up working 3 jobs while having heart failure, asthma, and diabetes. He did everything he could to provide for my sister and me. He passed away 6 days before I graduated college in 2016. It’s been a few years but I still have trouble on Father’s Day. He could have ditched us when our mom died and we didn’t have enough income. But he didn’t. He was there fighting to put food on the table. Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers who fight for their children.

2. In the name of his angel brother.

Molly_Schiller_

3. This Little Fella After Winning First Place In A Bike Tournament

Zumcddo

4. Important Memories On Google Maps

KarenBu32946258

5. I Am Finally Cancer Free! Really Excited To Live Life To The Fullest And Have Fun Again

BeachMaster2454

6. He Has Cerebral Palsy, Mitochondrial Disease, And Was In Special Education Until The 7th Grade. He Just Graduated With His Aa And Highest Honors. Pride Is An Understatement

BumpoSplat

He just received a full-ride scholarship to the school of his dreams. My son is going to rock the world as a lawyer!

 

7. At The Salt Lake City Farmer’s Market A Few Years Back

pixamour

8. My Favorite Graduation Photo. This Woman At My Campus’ Subway Kept Me Fed For 4 Years, And When I Was Low On Money, She Came Through For Me

izeezusizeezus

9. Balloon Seller’s Kind Gesture

shannonhar95

10. This Is The Day Our Daughter Was Declared In Remission From Stage 2 Liver Cancer

docungurus

11. A Year Ago I Was Depressed And Suicidal. Today Things Have Gotten Better

NEDudcat603

12. When My Grandad Passed Away My Grandmother (She Is 85) Started Learning Painting To Distract Herself. After A Year She Gave Me This Painting

s4ymyname

13. Best Neighbours

conniebliff

14. Jimmy Carter an ex USA president

15. My Best Bud And I Cleaned Up A Ton Of Trash Today On Our Day Off

Daniel_Toben

16. I Just Found Out That My Neighbors Tell Their Dog I’m Outside When They Want Him To Hurry Up And Get Out The Door. This Is Him Waiting For A Treat From Me

powaqua

17. Had The European Championship For Wheelchair Basketball. Took The Bronze Medal, And A Ticket To The World Championships In Japan Next Year

nadav5498


Keep working hard lads, you’ll reach good places.

18. Don’t really have anyone to celebrate with, so I thought I’d share with you guys. I’m one year sober!

trubexio

19. Random Girl At Farmer’s Market Seduces My Partner In Front Of My Very Eyes

thelasttrashbender

20. In France, Peyo, A Beautiful 15-Year-Old Stallion, Often Comes To Comfort And Soothe Terminally Ill Patients At The Techer Hospital In Calais

sunhistory

The horse always chooses which patient he wants to see, kicking his hoof outside the door.

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