Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Fieldwork: Moult

The vast majority of male superb fairy-wrens moult into an eclipse plumage for the winter - they go brown (except for their tails). Now that spring has come they are moulting back! It takes them a while to turn fully blue.

I thought I'd show you a few photos, so you can get an idea of the process. In the first photo you can see a male that hasn't sta

RrbR in eclipse plumage - completely brown

Blue feathers appear around the beak first. Have a look at the cheeks of this moulting male.

YYbw starting to moult
YYbw with a few more blue feathers on his face

Then gradually the rest of the face fills in. Blue feathers appear on the top of the head as well as cheeks. The feathers still-to-be-moulted look scruffy.

Face is blue, but the back of the head is still brown

And finally the male is moulted, blue and ready to start displaying!

Fully moulted blue male

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