The bright blue, purple, chestnut, black and white plumage is found only in the male of this species, females and young birds are brownish to pale blue-grey in colour. The depth and variety of colours in the male varies among the four subspecies, scattered throughout the Australian mainland. The Variegated Fairy-wren is found in a variety of habitats, ranging from heathlands in the East to arid scrublands in central Australia, and rocky ridges in the North, and is the most widespread of the nine species of fairy-wrens found in Australia. Like most other fairy-wrens, the Variegated Fairy-wren is normally seen in small family groups of up to seven birds. These groups usually consist of a dominant male and female and several young birds, which resemble the female in plumage colour. Contrary to popular belief, the brightly coloured male does not have a harem of females; the brown birds are mostly males, as the parental female drives away other members of her sex at the onset of the breeding season.