Superb Blue Wren hen

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Comments (12)

Ian Stehbens on January 17, 2008

See previous image for the stunningly attractive male. It clearly is the male's breeding plumage that gives the species its common name: Superb Blue Wren.

pic.point on January 18, 2008

Modest but beautiful. Great image, Ian.


Ian Stehbens on January 18, 2008

Your comment is spot on and your affirmation appreciated. I considered not uploading the female for the "modest" factor suggested no one would be particularly interested in going past the thumbnail. But then there are other reasons for uploading, so I put up the pair. So thanks, Inessa.

When one sees the colourful male and then observes his jaunty behaviour, he becomes one of our bushland favourites in SE Australia. But usually that is where the appeal stops. However behaviourally they are interesting.

These wrens live in a family group, each group includes a number of adult males. That isn't always immediately obvious for all males under 4 years moult to the brown feathers when it is not breeding season. After 4 years, the males stay coloured all year. The brown male can be distinguished from the brown female for the male has a black bill and does not have the orange near the eye, that the female has.

By living in with groups of males, the population can increase quickly when the season is right, for the males will take over the care of the fledglings when they hatch, and the female is free to mate with another male and nest again. The groups have almost double the fertility yield (ratio of independent birds raised per female) of those that are faithfully paired.


pic.point on January 19, 2008

Many thanks for your always interesting comments, Ian. It is great to learn some story behind the picture.

Greetings, Inessa

© SisAnnick on January 19, 2008

Splendid picture, Ian. It's so dificult to shoot little birds that are moving quickly all around... I love them but never suceeded my shots. technical problem, camara not efficient. do you have a huge zoom? The picture is perfect. Sharp focus on the small bird, blurred green background . For me, this is the best of this serie Cheers Annick

Ian Stehbens on January 19, 2008

Dear Annick,

First, thanks for picking up on this humble wren hen, and appreciating the success of my image. I am sure your feel an affinity with small creatures, too.

Second, I use a 70-300mm lens, and then fix focus in this case on the fence, switch to manual and just wait till the bird returns to the spot or near the spot. Sometimes if the bird is going to be flighty I may use rapid shoot mode, especially in daylight, so that I can select the one which is just right from say 5 or 6 images. In this case I think I ended up with 4 that were very satisfactory, but I liked this one for she was returning my look and the light glint holds one's attention on her eye.

Third: I don't know enough about my camera for it should be or can record the photo details but for some reason they are not appearing on Panoramio. Marilyn Whiteley has asked me about this. One day I'll realize why and then we will all be able to see what focal length was used, etc. I wasn't very far away, only about 3M, I think so it probably wasn't 300mm.

And Annick and Inessa, Fourth: A serious ponder: How do we photographers create a new language that refuses to use the violent language of hunting and destruction when we are intent on the opposite? How do we find words other than "shooting", "shot", "capture" even "take"? I noticed that you preferred to italicize shoot, when referring to this little bird for its hard to simply say "shoot", isn't it?. Are there different words or concepts used in French or German or Greek? I've been trying to use "image", "photograph", "see", "receive", "create". But It will only change if we create a convention, and awareness, and a pattern of practice. Any thoughts or possibilities that you see, dear sisters Annick and Inessa?



© SisAnnick on January 19, 2008

Hi Ian, your fourth point is of major interest! Words ... how to say things or ideas. it's so important. It's true, I italicized the word because I figured a gun pointed on this tiny bird... so bad! i hate hunting. In a former version, I used "catch" but it fortunately deletd.. Then, which word? What we call "cliché" in french is called snapshot in english... well . Image, picture, pic, view, and then? what about the verb to name the action... Click, click , I don't know... even to frame means to shoot in slung !!! And same for to get.... gasp ! he got me ! not good... in French we take photos ( prendre une photo) or we photography (photographier) something. We don't say "shoot" . there is no violence in our langage (but lots of french people are unfortunately hunting and fishing addicts). Forum is open ! Cheers Annick

Ian Stehbens on January 20, 2008

I appreciate your passion Evangelos. I will at every opportunity, for I am a passionate person too. As the Greek language has created so much of our other languages, I wonder what the photography verb concepts are in Greek? Surely not take or shoot or other aggressive ideas?


Ian Stehbens on January 20, 2008

Dear Annick,

Can we "create" Photos in French? Can we use "image" as a verb? I like the notion of imagination that is involved in seeing and designing our images.

A little bit more left-field is the idea of "windowing" ..... or "realising"????????????

Are you adept at or interested in taking this conversation into a FORUM?


© SisAnnick on January 20, 2008

Hi Ian, I'm a words-addict and forum member. If you strart the subject, I'll join it; about verbs, we are poor in french. we don't "create" or "image" either. We can "réaliser", which mean make real an "image" or "cliché"... or "prendre une photo" (take a photo in meaning of pich up)... see you on forum? :-) Annick

pedrocut on February 4, 2009


Lovely and interesting pictures of the Australian wren, a contrast to the British Wren, where the male and female are similar. They are not social during the day but can roost together at night; as many as 46 have been counted in a single nest box.

I love to stop in woodland and listen to the Jenny Wren. Although it is one of the smallest British birds its song is quite loud, and although I have not seen them sing, it is said that their whole body quivers with the effort. To listen to the song here is the BBC site.

Regards, Peter

Ian Stehbens on February 4, 2009

Thanks for the information and link, Peter.

We have a number of wren species here. Do you want me to identify the different ones for you? I'm happy to.


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Photo details

  • Uploaded on January 16, 2008
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens