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Australian Finches

Australia’s Finches belong to the Estrildidae family. They are small birds (10-16 cm) widely spread across Australia’s shrubby forests and grasslands. Finches have short, thick, pointed beaks suited for their primary diet of seeds. They are favourites with caged bird breeders and enthusiasts because of their size and colour.

Photo: A resident of the south-west corner of Australia, the Red-eared Firetail (13 cm) adds a splash of colour amongst lakeside reeds and forest streams. They feed on seeds and some small insects.

The rarest of the beautiful and endangered Gouldian Finches is the Golden-headed morph, making up one per cent of the Gouldian population, as seen here at Taronga Zoo in Sydney.

The rarest of the beautiful and endangered Gouldian Finches is the Golden-headed morph, making up one per cent of the Gouldian population, as seen here at Taronga Zoo in Sydney.

The Double-barred Finch (11 cm) is found across northern and eastern Australia in grassy woodlands and forests. This bird with its white rump is from the northern race, the eastern race have a black rump. Double-barred Finches eat seeds and some insects.

The Double-barred Finch (11 cm) is found across northern and eastern Australia in grassy woodlands and forests. This bird with its white rump is from the northern race, the eastern race have a black rump. Double-barred Finches eat seeds and some insects.

The Zebra Finch (10 cm) is widespread across Australia’s dry grasslands. It feeds on fallen seeds on the ground and takes some flying insects, especially when feeding its young.

The Zebra Finch (10 cm) is widespread across Australia’s dry grasslands. It feeds on fallen seeds on the ground and takes some flying insects, especially when feeding its young.

The Beautiful Firetail (13 cm) inhabits the south of Victoria, southern coastal NSW, South Australia and Tasmania. It prefers damp areas and feeds on seeds and insects in low undergrowth.

The Beautiful Firetail (13 cm) inhabits the south of Victoria, southern coastal NSW, South Australia and Tasmania. It prefers damp areas and feeds on seeds and insects in low undergrowth.

This Long-tailed Finch (16 cm) watches a waterhole before descending for a drink. Long-tailed Finches are found across the tropical northwest, feeding from the ground on grass seeds.

This Long-tailed Finch (16 cm) watches a waterhole before descending for a drink. Long-tailed Finches are found across the tropical northwest, feeding from the ground on grass seeds.

This Red-browed Finch (12 cm) feeds on a seed head but is more commonly seen feeding on the ground. Red-browed Finches are found along the east coast of Australia.

This Red-browed Finch (12 cm) feeds on a seed head but is more commonly seen feeding on the ground. Red-browed Finches are found along the east coast of Australia.

The Diamond Firetail (13 cm) inhabits the South-east of Australia. Feeding exclusively on the ground it is often found in flocks of 20 to 30 birds.

The Diamond Firetail (13 cm) inhabits the South-east of Australia. Feeding exclusively on the ground it is often found in flocks of 20 to 30 birds.

Found across the grassy tropical woodlands of north Australia, Masked Finches (14 cm) are never too far from water. They feed on the ground on grass seeds.

Found across the grassy tropical woodlands of north Australia, Masked Finches (14 cm) are never too far from water. They feed on the ground on grass seeds.

Red-headed and Black-headed Gouldian Finches (14 cm) perch above a waterhole near Katherine, NT. Gouldians feed on tall grasses across the tropical north, sometimes taking insects on the wing.

Red-headed and Black-headed Gouldian Finches (14 cm) perch above a waterhole near Katherine, NT. Gouldians feed on tall grasses across the tropical north, sometimes taking insects on the wing.

Chestnut-breasted Mannikins (12 cm) feed on the seed heads of tall grasses around swamps and mangroves. They are distributed across the north and the east of Australia.

Chestnut-breasted Mannikins (12 cm) feed on the seed heads of tall grasses around swamps and mangroves. They are distributed across the north and the east of Australia.

Crimson Finches (14 cm) are common across the northern tropical woodlands. They feed on seed heads of taller grasses, and insects. The female, shown above, has a red head and brown chest.

Crimson Finches (14 cm) are common across the northern tropical woodlands. They feed on seed heads of taller grasses, and insects. The female, shown above, has a red head and brown chest.

These Zebra Finches have built a warren of nests in the cellars of a Whistling Kite’s nest. Presumably this provides a roof, a built in security service and perhaps morsels of food as well?

These Zebra Finches have built a warren of nests in the cellars of a Whistling Kite’s nest. Presumably this provides a roof, a built in security service and perhaps morsels of food as well?