female zebra finches

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P1200142These girls are a little shyer than their male counterpart, preferring the shade and anonymity of the tree and each others company. They are the same as the male in plumage, save they lack his chestnut ear-patch and his barred breast, instead opting for a more demure fawn-grey breast befitting to Ladies.


zebra finch

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P1190974I am on a road trip through four of Australia’s seven states, I’ve travelled 2,800 kms from my home on the New South Wales north coast to the middle of South Australia. Currently house-sitting in Cooper Pedy, the Opal capital of the world. It’s a desert region and not a lot happening in the landscape but these Zebra Finches, small seed eating birds, seem to be thriving. This is a male, identified by the chestnut ear-patch. They are a tiny 10cm, like the Southern Whiteface in the previous post and the Double-barred Finch

red-browed finch

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The Red-browed Finch is an olive-backed Firetail with a red eyebrown, grey underparts and golden patch on the side of the neck. P1170388They are small at 11-12 cms and tend to hang out in small flocks. They like to play hide and seek in dense foliage which makes them tricky to capture.

spot the double-barred finch

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Finches are small seed-eating birds with a strong bill for crushing seeds. The Double-barred  Finch gets its name from two black bars on its breast. It is only 10 cm and like all finches moves with lightning speed so they are difficult to spot and even more difficult to capture as they rarely come out of a bush into the open. They are common in open woodland in north and north-east Australia but this is the first time I have spotted one. It was a weekend birding trip 4 hours from home near Tenterfield, in the north-west of NSW, and there was quite a community of finches darting around a discarded nest in a low tree.

red-browed finch

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This Red-browed Finch belongs to the Firetails and they are even smaller than the fairy-wren coming in at 11-12 cm. They live along a narrow coastal strip down the east side of Australia and congregate in small flocks feeding on seeding grasses. They are olive-backed with distinct red eyebrow, grey underparts and a golden patch on the side of the neck. Finches move so quickly it is impossible to see patterns and colours with the naked eye and in capturing this one I ended up with a lot of photos of grass and twigs with the occasional blur of fleeing wings!

Acknowledgement: The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds, 2nd ed.