Family Fairy-wrens (Maluridae)

Least Concern

Purple-crowned Fairy-wren (Malurus coronatus)


French: Mérion couronné German: Purpurkopf-Staffelschwanz Spanish: Maluro coronado

Malurus coronatus


, 1858,

near mouth of Victoria River, Northern Territory, Australia


Long placed in monotypic Rosina, but protein evidence allies it to current genus. DNA data#R place it as sister to the “chestnut-shouldered group” (see M. elegans, below). Race macgillivrayi sometimes considered a separate species, but shows only subtle, minor differences (smaller, with greyer back, greenish-blue tail and whiter belly; song possibly slightly shorter with slightly lower note bandwidth). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. c. coronatus Gould, 1858 – rivers of Kimberley region and adjacent W Northern Territory, in NW Australia.
  • M. c. macgillivrayi Mathews, 1913 – rivers bordering S Gulf of Carpentaria (E Northern Territory and W Queensland), in N Australia.
  • Descriptive notes

    14–15·5 cm; 9–12 g. Male nominate race in Bright plumage has crown purple-mauve with central black oblong; lores and broad band back through eye and ear-coverts... read more


    Song a typical reel, louder, slower and lower in pitch than that of congeners; repeated elements... read more


    Dense tropical vegetation, typically with tall grasses or prickly palms (Pandanus), beside... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly invertebrates gathered in dense foliage, including especially beetles (Coleoptera), ants (Formicidae), grasshoppers (Orthoptera),... read more


    Two peaks, one in Apr and other in Aug; may rear more than one brood when conditions favourable. Socially monogamous but probably sexually... read more


    Resident. Females disperse more often, and farther, than do males.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common to uncommon. In regional conservation assessments, nominate race rated “Vulnerable” because of its extreme... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rowley, I. & Russell, E. (2018). Purple-crowned Fairy-wren (Malurus coronatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 November 2018).