"Fairy-Wren" - what a delightful name for these beautiful little birds which are only found in Australasia. "Fairy-Wren" - where did this name come from? The term "wren" was used from the earliest days of the colony because it reminded homesick settlers of the utterly unrelated Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes). Unrelated and utterly dissimilar apart from the cocked tail and the fact that these birds live in bushes! Nevertheless, the term "Wren" stuck.
But "Fairy-Wren"? The word fairy conjures up a sense of being small and delicate, presumably to reduce confusion with other types of wren but the term does not seem to exist prior to the 20 th century. Tom Iredale, the influential ornithologist, conchologist and zoologist, claimed credit for the name in 1939 although the term was first referenced in the Australian National Dictionary in 1928. Whatever the origin, it was the term "Fairy–Wren" which first drew my attention to this beautiful book by one of the world’s leading field ornithologists.