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Largest of the Australian fairy wrens (14-15 cm). A cinnamon-brown back with pale breast and belly, the males have a black face, lores and nape with a brilliant purple crown and a small black central crown spot when breeding. Females lack the mask and crown and have a grey crown with a small chestnut brown cheek patch. Both sexes have a long blue tail.
Specialist habitat of thick cane grass and pandanus areas along river and stream banks. Strictly a riparian species. This pair found near Timber creek in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Although found in quite restricted habitat, these birds are reasonably common. Usually found in pairs or small family parties, this species is unusual in the fact that it is monogamous unlike most others in this family.