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Gouldian Finch


Gouldian Finch
Photo © Jürgen Schiller García / Flickr
The Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae) is a brightly colored bird endemic to Australia. Gouldian finches have a face that is either black or red, rimmed by a narrow band of turquoise. Their upper body and wings are olive green, the breast is violet, and the belly bright yellow.

Juveniles Gouldian finches are drabber in color than adults. They are grey on their heads, flanks, and neck. Their back, wings and tail are olive green and their underbelly is pale brown. Young birds have blue phosphorescent beads at the base of their beaks which enable their parents to feed them in dim light.

Adult Gouldian finches can be either of two color morphs, a red-faced morph and a black-faced morph. These morphs represent different underlying genotypes. Matings between black and red (mismatched) morphs produce offspring that suffer high mortality (60%). For this reason, female Gouldian finches sometimes cheat on their mates to ensure better survival odds for their offspring.
The wild population of Gouldian finches is thought to be declining, although a precise number of wild individuals is not known and is estimated to be between 2,000 and 10,000 birds. Gouldian finches are classified as endangered.
Gouldian finches are endemic to Australia. Their range includes several small and scattered populations on the Cape York Peninsula as well as two larger populations, one being in the Northern Territory and the other in the Kimberly region in Western Australia. The habitat perferred by Gouldian finches is open tropical woodland with a grassy understory. The finches nest in the hollows of trees. During the non-breeding season, the finches spread out into a variety of woodland habitats. They feed on grass seed.
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