Male (left) and female superb fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus, photographed by Krysia.

Belongs within: Meliphagoidea.

Malurus, the fairy wrens, is a genus of small, short-winged but strong-legged insectivorous birds found in Australia and New Guinea. Species of this genus have long, narrow tails that are often held cocked upwards; males in breeding plumage are often brightly coloured. For instance, breeding males of the splendid fairy wren M. splendens are predominantly bright blue with black stripes on the side of the head and across the breast; females and non-breeding males are mostly brown with blue coloration restricted to the tail and (in males) wings.

<==Malurus Vieillot 1816 B94
    |  i. s.: M. alboscapulatus JT12
    |         M. campbelli JT12
    |         M. cyanocephalus JT12
    |         M. grayi JT12
    |         M. leuconotus Gould 1865 WS48 (see below for synonymy)
    |--+--M. leucopterus Dumont 1824 JT12, WS48 [incl. M. edouardi Campbell 1901 WS48, M. leucopterus edouardi M03]
    |  `--M. melanocephalus (Latham 1801) JT12, WS48 [=Muscicapa melanocephala WS48; incl. Sylvia dorsalis R87]
    |       |--M. m. melanocephalus WS48
    |       `--M. m. cruentatus Gould 1839 [incl. M. cruentatus boweri Ramsay 1886] WS48
    `--+--+--M. coronatus Gould 1857 JT12, WS48
       |  |    |--M. c. coronatus [incl. Rosina coronata rogersiana Mathews 1912] WS48
       |  |    `--M. c. macgillivrayi M03
       |  `--+--M. cyaneus JT12
       |     |    |--M. c. cyaneus CC10
       |     |    |--M. c. ashbyi M03
       |     |    |--M. c. cyanochlamys Sharpe 1881 CC10
       |     |    |--M. c. elizabethae M03
       |     |    |--M. c. leggei M03
       |     |    `--M. c. samueli M03
       |     `--M. splendens (Quoy & Gaimard 1830) JT12, WS48 [=Saxicola splendens WS48]
       |          |--M. s. splendens [incl. M. pectoralis Gould 1833 (preoc.), M. splendens perthi Mathews 1922] WS48
       |          |--M. s. callainus SJ85
       |          |--M. s. emmotorum M03
       |          |--M. s. melanotus M03
       |          |--M. s. musgravi M03
       |          `--M. s. riordani Mathews 1912 [incl. M. splendens aridus Mack 1934] WS48
       `--+--M. elegans Gould 1837 (nom. cons.) JT12, WS48 [incl. Leggeornis elegans warreni Mathews 1916 WS48]
          `--+--M. pulcherrimus Gould 1844 BKB15, WS48 [incl. M. pulcherrimus stirlingi Mathews 1913 WS48]
             `--+--M. amabilis Gould 1850 JT12, WS48 (see below for synonymy)
                `--M. lamberti Vigors & Horsfield 1827 JT12, WS48
                     |--M. l. lamberti WS48
                     |--M. l. assimilis M03
                     |--M. l. bernieri Ogilvie-Grant 1909 WS48
                     |--M. l. dulcis M03
                     `--M. l. mastersi Mathews 1912 (see below for synonymy) WS48

Malurus amabilis Gould 1850 JT12, WS48 [incl. M. amabilis rogersi Mathews 1912 WS48, M. lamberti rogersi M03]

Malurus lamberti mastersi Mathews 1912 [incl. Leggornis lamberti hartogi Mathews 1918, M. lamberti occidentalis Mathews 1912] WS48

Malurus leuconotus Gould 1865 WS48 [=M. leucopterus leuconotus M03; incl. M. cyanotus exsul Mathews 1912 WS48, M. leuconotus perplexus Mathews 1912 WS48, Hallornis leuconotus wongani Mathews 1922 WS48]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[M03] Morcombe, M. 2003. Field Guide to Australian Birds 2nd ed. Steve Parish Publishing.

[R87] Ramsay, E. P. 1887. List of Western Australian birds collected by Mr. Cairn, and Mr. W. H. Boyer-Bower, at Derby and its vicinity, with remarks on the species. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 1 (4): 1085–1100.

[SJ85] Storr, G. M., & R. E. Johnstone. 1985. Field Guide to the Birds of Western Australia 2nd ed. Western Australian Museum: Perth (Australia).

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

Last updated: 24 July 2019.

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