Fairy-wrens (Maluridae)

Red-backed Fairy-wren (Malurus melanocephalus) - HBW 12, p. 525

French: Mérion à dos rouge German: Rotrücken-Staffelschwanz Spanish: Maluro Dorsirrojo
Other common names: Black-headed Fairy-wren, Blood/Elfin/Orange-backed Wren, Red/Red-backed Wren, Blood-backed Wren-warbler, Scarlet-backed Warbler, Orange-backed Flycatcher

Taxonomy: Muscicapa melanocephala Latham, 1801, New Holland = near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Protein evidence indicates that closest allies are M. leucopterus and M. alboscapulatus; the three constitute the “bicoloured group”. Races intergrade in NE Queensland, where hybridization zone between R Endeavour and R Burdekin. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • cruentatus Gould, 1840 - N Western Australia (from Cape Keraudren) E, N of 20° S, to N Queensland (S to base of Cape York Peninsula and Charters Towers).
  • melanocephalus (Latham, 1801) - NE Queensland (E Cape York Peninsula) S along coast to E New South Wales.