Gouldian Finch

Gouldian Finch

Erythrura gouldiae

DID YOU KNOW?

Only the male gouldian finch sings.

Exhibit Name and Location:
Baltimore - Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes

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Gouldian Finch

These small, brightly colored birds have green backs, yellow bellies, and purple breasts, with a light blue uppertail and a cream undertail. Sometimes called lady gouldians, their facial color can vary, but black is the most common, followed by red and the very rare yellow. This facial mask is bordered by a light blue band. The males are more brightly colored than the female, and males ruffle their feathers to show off their colors to impress females. Young gouldian finches lack the bright coloring, appearing more gray and olive in color.

The birds inhabit open woodlands near water sources and generally nest in hollowed tree branches. Both parents care for the eggs and the young.

Diet

Gouldian finches primarily eat grass seeds, except during the breeding season when their diet consists mainly of insects.

Size

Adult gouldian finches grow to approximately 6 inches and weigh about half an ounce.

Range

Gouldian finches are sparsely distributed across northern Australia in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and Queensland.

Population Status

Though large numbers are bred in captivity, the gouldian finch is endangered in the wild. The species was once widespread across northern Australia, but now only exists in small, fragmented populations due to numerous factors including habitat destruction and wildfires.

Predators

Snakes, some mammals, and larger birds prey on the gouldian finch.

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A Note From the Caretaker

Gouldian chicks are equipped with blue phosphorescent beads along their mouths, making it easy for the parents to feed them in the darkness of the nest cavity.