Distractions - Superb Fairy-Wrens (Portrait)


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On one of my many bird photography reference-gathering walks, I came across a charming family of Superb Fairy-wrens, twittering and hopping among a stunning purple flowering plant which I later discovered is a native Kangaroo Apple. It was a subject that was just begging to be painted!

Combining eight reference photos, this was indeed a challenge to ensure the lighting and scale of all elements remained consistent.

The two females are distracted by a beautiful Common Brown butterfly while the male in all his resplendent glory keeps on the lookout for any potential dangers.

This is my first attempt at painting a butterfly, a challenging but most enjoyable exercise.

Superb Fairy-wrens always forage in groups not only for safety, but if insects are disturbed by one bird, they may be caught by another. They may use a "rodent run" to distract predators from nests with chicks. The bird runs rapidly and voices a continuous alarm call while its head, neck and tail are lowered. The females that engage in this practice look remarkably like small mice. 


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