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Plum-headed finch

Neochmia modesta


Male:- Mid-brown olive upper parts and wings. Upper tail coverts and rump are barred white, wing coverts and inner flight feathers tipped white. Tail black. Top of head, forehead and chin claret-red, black lores, ear coverts white streaked brown. White cheeks. Underparts white with thin brown-olive bars from throat to sides of belly, centre belly and undertail plain white. Dark brown eyes. Black bill. Pink-brown feet. Female:- Face is duller than male, no claret-coloured chin. White line above eye. Immatures:- Head has no claret-red markings, underparts white with almost no bars. Adult plumage is gained at first annual moult - several months after fledging.


Wooroolin Wetlands surrounded by a variety of grasses, shrubs and trees. Eg grasses... Common Wheatgrass, Q'ld Bluegrass and African Love grass. Herbage:- Kidney Weed; Twining Glycine and Blue Burr Daisy. Good water supply was still to be had.


I saw this small flock mingling with the Chestnut-breasted Mannikins and also on there own. The tinkling whistle pyiiit, the soft tlip and the high pitched chirping and gargling trills were very distinct. Was a very pleasant encounter. Also noticed that these finches were much shyer than the C-b Mannikins, so I was very delighted to get any photos. These birds need to drink almost every hour, which means that they must have water nearby. They are quite nomadic, making it difficult to estimate their numbers. Their movements can turn into erratic irruptions, meaning that they may appear in numbers in places where they've not been seen for quite some time and then again disappearing just a quickly. Watching them foraging throughout the grasses showed how skilful they are as they seek out the part-ripe or ripe seeds. Reference of Reader's Digest Complete Book of Australian Birds.

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Neil Ross
Neil Ross 4 years ago

Beautiful spotting. Some of these photos have a magical dreamlike quality about them.

armadeus.4 4 years ago

Nice series and great notes Single D! Thank you for sharing :)

Single D
Spotted by
Single D

Queensland, Australia

Spotted on Dec 27, 2018
Submitted on Jun 20, 2019

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