Overview

Comprehensive Description

White-shouldered Fairy-wren


Other common names: Black-and-white Fairy-wren/Wren-warbler


Taxonomy: Malurus alboscapulatus A. B. Meyer, 1874, Arfak Mountains, c. 1070 m, Vogelkop, New Guinea.


Destinctive malurid with comparatively short tail. Male nominate race (all seasons) is entirely glossy black, except for white scapulars; iris, bill and legs black. Female has black head and back, narrow white eyebrow and broken eyering, white scapulars, white underside with variable amount of black flecking; iris and bill as male, legs  brown.

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Distinctive malurid with comparatively short tail. Male nominate race (all seasons) is entirely glossy black, except for white scapulars; iris, bill and legs black. Female has black head and back, narrow white eyebrow and broken eyering, white scapulars, white underside with variable amount of black flecking; iris and bill as male, legs brown. Juvenile is blackish- grey above, including scapulars, whitish below; immature resembles female but duller, and lacks white on scapulars. Races differ in female and juvenile plumages, to which following details refer; naimii is like nominate, but usually with more black on body side, juvenile as in nominate; aida is black like male, but less glossy, wings browner, faint white eyebrow, juvenile all sooty brown; kutubu is black like previous, juvenile undescribed; moretoni is like previous two, juvenile sooty black or grey with white chin; lorentzi female is distinctive has crown grey- brown, narrow white brow and broken eyering, back mid brown, no white on scapulars, creamy- white undersurface, cinnamon on flanks, eyes and bill black, legs brown, juvenile as female but paler, with white markings less distinct.

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Distribution

Subspecies and Distribution:



  • alboscapulatus A. B. Meyer, 1874 - Vogelkop (Arfak and Tamrau Mts and intervening valley), in NW New Guinea.


  • aida E. J. O. Hartert, 1930 - NW New Guinea (Weyland Mts and Wissel Lakes E to Humboldt Bay).


  • lorentzi van Oort, 1909 - W & S New Guinea (Snow Mts to Trans-Fly and Utaka-Mimika R).


  • naimii Salvadori & D’Albertis, 1875 - N & S lowlands and C highlands of E New Guinea (C Sepik E to Astrolabe Bay; river systems of C highlands; Kerema E to Vanapa R and Wharton Range).


  • kutubu Schodde & Hitchcock, 1968 - S highlands of C New Guinea (Olsobip E to Mt Giluwe and L Kitubu).


  • moretoni De Vis, 1892 - N & S coasts of SE New Guinea and intervening mountain valleys (NW to Huon Peninsula, and SW to Brown R and Vanapa R).

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Subspecies and Distribution:


    * alboscapulatus A. B. Meyer, 1874 - Vogelkop (Arfak and Tamrau Mts and intervening valley), in NW New Guinea. * aida E. J. O. Hartert, 1930 - NW New Guinea (Weyland Mts and Wissel Lakes E to Humboldt Bay). * lorentzi van Oort, 1909 - W & S New Guinea (Snow Mts to Trans-Fly and Utaka-Mimika R). * naimii Salvadori & D’Albertis, 1875 - N & S lowlands and C highlands of E New Guinea (C Sepik E to Astrolabe Bay; river systems of C highlands; Kerema E to Vanapa R and Wharton Range). * kutubu Schodde & Hitchcock, 1968 - S highlands of C New Guinea (Olsobip E to Mt Giluwe and L Kitubu). * moretoni De Vis, 1892 - N & S coasts of SE New Guinea and intervening mountain valleys (NW to Huon Peninsula, and SW to Brown R and Vanapa R).


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Physical Description

Size

10- 13,5 cm; 8- 12 g

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10- 13,5 cm; 8- 12 g

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Diagnostic Description

Distinctive malurid with comparatively short tail. Male nominate race (all seasons) is entirely glossy black, except for white scapulars; iris, bill and legs black. Female has black head and back, narrow white eyebrow and broken eye ring, white scapulars, white underside with variable amount of black flecking; iris and bill as male, legs brown. Juvenile is blackish- grey above, including scapulars, whitish below; immature resembles female but duller, and lacks white on scapulars. Races differ in female and juvenile plumages, to which following details refer; naimii is like nominate, but usually with more black on body side, juvenile as in nominate; aida is black like male, but less glossy, wings browner, faint white eyebrow, juvenile all sooty brown; kutubu is black like previous, juvenile undescribed; moretoni is like previous two, juvenile sooty black or grey with white chin; lorentzi female is distinctive has crown grey- brown, narrow white brow and broken eye ring, back mid brown, no white on scapulars, creamy- white under surface, cinnamon on flanks, eyes and bill black, legs brown, juvenile as female but paler, with white markings less distinct.

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Destinctive malurid with comparatively short tail. Male nominate race (all seasons) is entirely glossy black, except for white scapulars; iris, bill and legs black. Female has black head and back, narrow white eyebrow and broken  eyering, white scapulars, white underside with variable amount of black flecking; iris and bill as male, legs  brown. Juvenile is blackish- grey above, including scapulars, whitish below; immature resembles female but  duller, and lacks white on scapulars. Races differ in female and juvenile plumages, to which following details refer; naimii is like nominate, but usually with more black on body side, juvenile as in nominate; aida is black like male, but less glossy, wings browner, faint white eyebrow, juvenile all sooty brown; kutubu is black like previous, juvenile undescribed; moretoni is like previous two, juvenile sooty black or grey with white chin; lorentzi female is distinctive has crown grey- brown, narrow white brow and broken eyering, back mid brown, no white on scapulars, creamy- white undersurface, cinnamon on flanks, eyes and bill black, legs brown, juvenile as female  but paler, with white markings less distinct.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Inhabits grasslands, typically along river valleys; also canegrass, overgrown village gardens, regrowth, roadside verges, and forest clearings, recorded from sea level up to 2700 m.

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Inhabits grasslands, typically along river valleys; also cane grass, overgrown village gardens, regrowth, roadside verges, and forest clearings, recorded from sea level up to 2700 m.

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Trophic Strategy

Arthropods; recorded items include spiders (Araneae), beetles (Coleoptera), grasshoppers (Orthoptera), moths (Lepidiptera) and cicadas (Cicadidae). Forages at low levels, seldom above 2 metres. Gleans vegetation.  Frequently in groups of several individuals.

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Arthropods; recorded items include spiders (Araneae), beetles (Coleoptera), grasshoppers (Orthoptera), moths (Lepidiptera) and cicadas (Cicadidae). Forages at low levels, seldom above 2 metres. Gleans vegetation. Frequently in groups of several individuals.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

VOICE: Song a high- pitched reel lasting 3- 4 seconds. Contact call consists of 2-3 notes repeated.

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Reproduction

Data sparse, but from specimen labels appears to lay in any month of year, in both wet and dry seasons. Socially monogamous but probably sexually promiscuous (as congeners); remains paired throughout year. Co- operative breeder, frequently with helpers, usually progeny from previous years; one closely monitored group already had  two immatures, presumambly from earlier breeding, when clutch started in Oct, and another clutch (laid Feb)  was attended by breeding male and female, two young adults and the immature from Oct nest. Oval- shaped  nest of coarse grass, sticks and leaves, lined with fine grass, placed 20- 150 cm above ground in shrub or  grass. No information on clutch size; incubation by female, period 11- 12 days, chicks fed by all goupmembers, leave nest at 12- 13 days; fledglings remain concealed for 7- 10 days, fed by group for 1 month, remain with family after independence: nest parasitized by Brush Cuckoo (Cacomantis variolosus).

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Data sparse, but from specimen labels appears to lay in any month of year, in both wet and dry seasons. Socially monogamous but probably sexually promiscuous (as congeners); remains paired throughout year. Co- operative breeder, frequently with helpers, usually progeny from previous years; one closely monitored group already had two immatures, presumably from earlier breeding, when clutch started in Oct, and another clutch (laid Feb) was attended by breeding male and female, two young adults and the immature from Oct nest. Oval- shaped nest of coarse grass, sticks and leaves, lined with fine grass, placed 20- 150 cm above ground in shrub or grass. No information on clutch size; incubation by female, period 11- 12 days, chicks fed by all group- members, leave nest at 12- 13 days; fledglings remain concealed for 7- 10 days, fed by group for 1 month, remain with family after independence: nest parasitized by Brush Cuckoo (Cacomantis variolosus).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Not Threatened

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Not Threatened

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Population

Population
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as common and widespread (del Hoyo et al. 2007).

Population Trend
Stable
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Wikipedia

White-shouldered fairywren

The white-shouldered fairywren (Malurus alboscapulatus) is a species of bird in the family Maluridae. It is found in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

It was first described by the German naturalist Christian Erich Hermann von Meyer in 1874. Its species name is derived from the Latin words albus "white" and scapulae "shoulder-blades".[2]

Within Maluridae, it is one of 12 species in the genus, Malurus. It is most closely related to a pair of Australian species, the red-backed and white-winged fairywrens, with which it makes up a phylogenetic clade.[3] Termed the bicoloured wrens by ornithologist Richard Schodde, these three species are notable for their lack of head patterns and ear tufts and their uniform black or blue plumage with contrasting shoulder or wing colour; they replace each other geographically across northern Australia and New Guinea.[4]

Six geographically isolated subspecies are recognised, found across the island of New Guinea. They are differentiated by the differences in female plumage, the males of all six are indistinguishable.[5] The nominate subspecies is found on the Bird's Head Peninsula to the far west of the island, subspecies aida is found in northeastern Irian Jaya, subspecies lorentzi is found in southern Irian Jaya and the TransFly region of southwestern Papua New Guinea, subspecies naimii is found in central-northern Papua New Guinea, subspecies kutubu restricted to the highlands, and subspecies moretoni in the far east of the island.[6]

The adult male is all shiny black but for a white shoulders (scapulars) – unlike the better-known Australian fairywrens there is no eclipse male plumage.[7] The tail is shorter than other fairywrens. The bill is black, and the feet and eyes are black or dark brown.[5] The female of subspecies alboscapulatus and naimii bears a pied plumage, with black upperparts, white shoulders and underparts.

The preferred habitats are lowland cleared areas; grassland, village gardens, and cane-grass.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Malurus alboscapulatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Simpson, D.P. (1979). Cassell's Latin Dictionary (5 ed.). London: Cassell Ltd. pp. 33, 537. ISBN 0-304-52257-0. 
  3. ^ Christidis L, Schodde R. 1997, "Relationships within the Australo-Papuan Fairywrens (Aves: Malurinae): an evaluation of the utility of allozyme data". Australian Journal of Zoology, 45 (2): 113–129.
  4. ^ Schodde (1982), p. 31
  5. ^ a b Rowley & Russell, p. 185.
  6. ^ Rowley & Russell, p. 188.
  7. ^ Rowley & Russell, p. 186.
  8. ^ Rowley & Russell, p. 187.

Cited texts[edit]

  • Rowley, Ian; Russell, Eleanor (1997). Bird Families of the World: Fairywrens and Grasswrens. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-854690-4. 
  • Schodde, Richard (1982). The fairywrens: a monograph of the Maluridae. Melbourne: Lansdowne Editions. ISBN 0-7018-1051-3. 
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