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Gouldian Finch

Gouldian Finch
Photo Information
Copyright: Pam Russell (coasties) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3749 W: 483 N: 8155] (28054)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-05-12
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Canon 70-200mm F/2.8L IS + EF 1.4X II Ex, Digital RAW 200, Hoya UV 77mm
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-05-12 3:47
Viewed: 5612
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 22
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae)

Description: Gouldian Finches are Australia's most spectacularly coloured grassfinches, and are perhaps the most spectacularly coloured of all Australian birds. They are small birds, measuring just 11 to 14 cm. They have a bright green back, yellow belly and a purple breast. The facial colour is usually black, and is found in about 75% of the birds. Red-faced forms make up about 25% of the population, and rare, yellow-faced birds occur from time to time. The yellow colour results from a lack of red pigment in the red-faced birds. The males are brighter in plumage than the females.

Young Gouldian Finches are dull ashy grey on the head and hind neck, becoming olive on the back and tail. The underparts are brown white, paler on chin, and have a faint yellow tinge on the belly. The upper bill is blackish and the lower bill is pinkish white. The end of the beak is tipped with red and there are pale nodules on the gape.

The Gouldian Finch is mostly silent, although a high-pitched whistling "ssitt", may be uttered from time to time.

Distribution and Habitat: Unfortunately, its bright colouration has lead to the Gouldian Finch being a target for the illegal bird trade. This illegal trapping, along with other factors such as alteration of habitat, predation, the effects of fire and the susceptibility of the species to the parasitic air-sac mite, Sternastoma tracheacolum, has reduced its numbers alarmingly. Its distribution is now patchy through tropical northern subcoastal areas from Derby, WA, to the Gulf of Carpenteria and thinly to central Cape York Peninsula. In the north and north-western parts of its range, birds are locally common. Gouldian Finches are only found in Australia.

Outside of the breeding season the Gouldian Finch is partly migratory. Birds move in quite large flocks to more coastal areas and return back inland to breed when the rainy season arrives. As with most other grassfinch species, the Gouldian Finch is seldom found far from water, and needs to drink several times during the day. Throughout its range the species inhabits the edges of mangroves and thickets, and savannas dotted with trees.

Food and feeding: For most of the year Gouldian Finches feed mostly on ripe or half-ripe grass seeds. During the breeding, however, the diet consists almost entirely on insects. Insects are rich in protein and help satisfy the demanding appetite of the young birds. Birds feed in small to large groups, and food may be taken on the ground or in flight.

Breeding: The Gouldian Finch breeds in small social colonies, with breeding normally taking place from January to April. It is the only grassfinch that nests exclusively in tree hollows or holes in termite mounds. Several pairs may share a single hollow. (Rarely, birds will construct a dry grass nest in a bush or tree).

Two or three broods may be reared in a season, with both parents sharing incubating and brooding duties. Four to eight white eggs are laid in each clutch. The young birds hatch after 12 to 13 days and leave the nest after a further three weeks.


Camera: Canon 20D
Time of day: 11:51 a.m.
Date: 12th May 2007
Weather conditions: Clear
Lens: Canon 70-200mm F/2.8L IS USM
Extender: Canon EF 1.4X II
Filter: Hoya 77mm UV
Shutter Speed: 1/250
F-Stop: F/5.6
Focal Length: 280mm
External Flash: Canon 580EX Speedlite
ISO: 200
Original file type: Digital Raw

joey, marmottelolo, marhowie, Debz, mlines has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

perfect shot. I am not sure if I like the framing on the top and bottom, but thats personal and does not detract from a great shot and note. Well done

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2007-05-12 5:34]

Hello old friend!! So, who went to the zoo today?
Thes finches are so pretty and you have a cute one here Pam. Looks a bit shy, but good glint in his eye.
Well done catching him through the wires,

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-05-12 5:50]

Hi Pam,
Great shot with loads of detail.
Well done,

Hi Pam,
Lovely great picture here...!
Colours, lighting and sharpness is perfect..!
Very good work and thank you for the good note..!
Best regards,

bonjour pam
les couleurs de cet oiseau sont merveilleuses,le piqué est extra et la lumiere bien dosée.
bon POV aussi.

Hi Pam,
It's been taken in captivity, I guess, as the bird has a ring slightly visible and a flash has been used. I tried to photograph little birds in captivity with same extender and lens and without flash...90% a mission impossible due to no-light. Flash is an option here...
Interesting shot.

Hi Pam,
Just time for a quickie :)
What a beautiful bird, you have really done this model justice!
Very well done mf.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-05-12 11:24]

Hello Pam,
Beautiful photo. Sharp and well composed, good POV. For me the photo is a bit dark. The frame on the top and the bottom is no need for me. But for me it's still a good photo.
TFS, Peter

  • Great 
  • OzBY Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 183 W: 2 N: 351] (1355)
  • [2007-05-13 11:46]

Hello Pam,

Great picture of this bird.
Great color, lighting and background


  • Great 
  • Debz Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 505 W: 0 N: 847] (3307)
  • [2007-05-15 5:59]

Hi Pam, a lovely Golden Finch. Nice POV showing his magnificent feathers. Colours, detail and sharpness very good.

  • Great 
  • mlines Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
  • [2007-12-21 13:56]

Hi Pam, A favorite and beautiful bird. It looks just so good in this photo. Good cropping and frame. TFS. Murray.

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