[Daily article] December 1: White-winged fairywren

The white-winged fairywren (Malurus leucopterus) is a bird species in
the family Maluridae, unrelated to true wrens. It lives in the drier
parts of central Australia, from central Queensland and South Australia
to Western Australia. Like other fairywrens, this species displays
marked sexual dimorphism, and one or more males of a social group grow
brightly coloured blue plumage during the breeding season. The females,
sandy-brown with light-blue tail feathers, are smaller, and almost
indistinguishable from the younger sexually mature males. A subspecies
is found on Dirk Hartog Island, and another on Barrow Island off the
coast of Western Australia, both having black rather than blue male
plumage. The white-winged fairywren mainly eats insects, and lives in
heathland and arid scrubland. It is a cooperative breeding species, and
small groups of birds maintain and defend territories year-round. Groups
consist of a socially monogamous pair with several helper birds who
assist in raising the young. As part of a courtship display, the male
wren plucks petals from flowers and brings them to female birds.

Read more:

Today’s selected anniversaries:


Queen Elizabeth I of England’s principal secretary and
spymaster Francis Walsingham was knighted.


Juan Lavalle, returning to Buenos Aires with troops that fought
in the Cisplatine War, deposed the provincial governor Manuel Dorrego,
reigniting the Argentine Civil Wars.


With the signing of the Act of Union, Denmark recognized the
Kingdom of Iceland as a fully sovereign state in personal union with
Denmark through a common monarch.


The Pit, one of college basketball’s premier arenas in the US,
opened on the campus of the University of New Mexico.


Over 92% of Ukrainian voters approved their country’s
independence as declared by the Ukrainian parliament on 24 August.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

Any of the 20 species of the genus Galanthus of the Amaryllidaceae,
bulbous flowering plants, bearing a solitary, pendulous, white, bell-
shaped flower that appears, depending on species, between autumn and
late winter or early spring, all native to temperate Eurasia.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  There are times when all the little demons disappear down their
ratholes, and ugliness itself takes on the shape of beauty; when the
darkest corner is touched by light; when the coldest heart feels the
glow of warmth; when the trumpet call of good will and good cheer drowns
out all the Babel of mean little noises. This is such a time. Merry
Christmas! Merry merry merry!  
–Christmas Party

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