Phenotypic separation of three divergent taxa within the Splendid Fairywren Malurus splendens

Andrew Black, Philippa Horton, Brian Blaylock, Greg Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Splendid Fairywren Malurus splendens (Quoy and Gaimard, 1832) is distributed across the southern two-thirds of Australia. Three of its four presently recognised subspecies (Schodde and Mason 1999) were long known as separate species (RAOU 1926; Condon 1968). Parker’s revision of the family Maluridae (in Schodde 1975) followed Ford’s (1975) report of hybridisation between ‘Splendid and Turquoise Wrens’ in inland Western Australia and combined the three entities in one species. They are the Splendid Fairywren M. s. splendens of the forested south-west (southern population) and semi-arid to arid mid-west (northern population) of Western Australia, Turquoise Fairywren M. s. callainus Gould, 1867 of western South Australia, Central Australia and inland Western Australia, and Black-backed Fairywren M. s. melanotus Gould, 1841 of inland south-eastern Australia including the Murray Mallee and southern Olary Plains of South Australia, and north-western Victoria, western New South Wales and southern Queensland...
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-43
Number of pages6
JournalSouth Australian Ornithologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Splendid Fairywren
  • Malurus splendens
  • Phenotypes


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