Gouldian finches live in open woodlands and open plains in northern Australia. They mainly feed on grass seeds, but they also eat invertebrates sometimes. They live to be roughly 8 years old.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Aves
Order - Passeriformes
Family - Estrildidae
Genus - Erythrura
Species - E. gouldiae
Common Names - Gouldian Finch, Rainbow Finch, Lady Gouldian Finch, Gould's Finch
Gouldian finches are very colorful birds. They have bright green backs and wings, purple chests, bright yellow bellies and light blue tails. The color of their heads can be yellow, black or red. Their beaks are a whitish color with a yellowish or reddish tip. Females have slightly duller coloring on their undersides. Adults range in size from 4.5 to 5 inches long.
Gouldian finches typically breed early in the dry season. Male Gouldian finches attract females by ruffling their feathers, bobbing their heads and wiping their beaks. After a female accepts a male, they build a nest in a tree hollow. The female then lays four to eight eggs, which the male and female both take turns incubating. Once the eggs hatch, both adults take care of their young.
Gouldian finches gather in larger groups with other finch species except during the breeding season. These bigger groups help protect them from predators. During the breeding season, Gouldian finches build nests in eucalyptus tree hollows. They forage for food on the ground during the dry season and feed on spinifex grass seed and other grass seeds during the wet season.
Wild Gouldian finches used to be captured in large numbers for the pet industry, but that practice has been banned since the 1980s. Gouldian finches are still bred in captivity and are popular pets because they are easy to care for and breed.
Gouldian finches are listed as near threatened. They have an overall population of roughly 2,500 adults, which is small, but declines in their numbers have mainly stopped. They do face continued threats from grazing, which makes food scarce, and fire regimes that destroy their habitats. Conservation efforts include the formation of a recovery plan and close tracking of the effects of fire and food scarcity on Gouldian finches in Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary.