Time Partitioning and Substrate use of Red-Backed Fairy-Wrens Malurus Melanocephalus

Stephen Murphy, Joanne Heathcote, Silvanna Garcia, Sarah Legge

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Red-backed Fairy-wrens Malurus melanocephalus are small insectivorous birds that inhabit Australia's tropical and subtropical savannas. We studied a colour-banded population in the Kimberley, Western Australia, to describe how they partition their time among the main habitat elements within their savanna environment. Eighty-nine focal watches on 29 individuals showed that Red-backed Fairy-wrens spend most of the cooler parts of their day foraging (60%), then preening/loafing (17%), then being vigilant (14%). Behaviours were not randomly undertaken across substrates, with foraging most common in grass, vigilance most common in Acacia spp. and preening/loafing most common in the thorny shrub, Carissa lanceolata. There was no significant relationship between sex and substrate or activity, suggesting that during the dry season males and females have similar time budgets.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)39-42
    Number of pages4
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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