Superb FairywrenEclipse plumage

When the mating season is over, the breeding males of the Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus) will moult their feathers, shedding their blue feathers for a plain grey-brown colour, in a process known as “eclipse”. The “eclipse plumage” may remain for up to eight months, whilst others may only be in the plain plumage for a few weeks.

Male and female pair of Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus), Ballandean QLD © Marc Newman
Eclipse plumage of the male Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus), Ballandean QLD © Marc Newman

During the moulting period, the male Superb Fairy-wren will look similar to the female of the species, as it loses the blue feathers in exchange for an ‘eclipse’ plumage. It is certainly rare for the male Superb Fairy-wren to moult from blue to blue. Most male Superb Fairy-wrens will moult twice in a year,

Male and female pair of Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus), Ballandean QLD © Marc Newman
Male and female pair of Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus), Ballandean QLD © Marc Newman
Female and male pair of Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus), Ballandean QLD © Marc Newman
Female and male pair of Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus), Ballandean QLD © Marc Newman

Check out the blog by Marc Newman… Will you still love me, when I lose my looks…


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Informal: Gnathostomata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Suborder: Passeri
  • Informal: Passerida
  • Family: Maluridae
  • Subfamily: Malurinae
  • Genus: Malurus
  • Subgenus: infrageneric Malurus
  • Species: Malurus cyaneus

Footnote & References

  1. Photographs © Marc Newman, Flickr, https://flickr.com/photos/koolbee/albums

Superb FairywrenEclipse plumage

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