A female purple-crowned fairy wren, banded for a study by
researcher AnnaMarie van Doorn.
The Purple-crowned Fairy-wren is territorial, chooses a single
mate and lives in pairs or small groups (often holding the same
territory for consecutive years). However, towards the end of the
breeding season larger groups may be encountered when the juveniles
of the year are still with the parents.
Only the dominant male and female breed but other group members
may help in caring for the young; feeding and protecting them.
Males are most often helpers as females tend to leave the nest
earlier. Young males may stay in the parental territory for a long
time and may inherit it.
In the VRD, nesting began in March at the end of the wet season
with a peak in May. The last nest was found in September. Only
females build nests and incubate the eggs but the male can often be
seen accompanying the female back and forth to the nest (especially
during building). He will frequently feed the female.
They build a dome nest that in the VRD is predominantly located
in river grass and built almost entirely out of the same grass. On
average nests are 40 cm high.
Average clutch size is three chicks, and groups may produce more
than one brood in a season. Females will often re-nest after a
nesting failure (up to four times). Foraging for insects is often
done in family groups and predominantly in river grass (59% of
foraging observations). — AnnaMarie van Doorn