One of the most colorful birds in the world is native to just a few areas in northern Australia, and luckily, they have been exported all around the world.
Named after the man who first described this beautiful bird species, their territory in their native land has shrunk significantly over the past decades.
I must say, very few birds in the world are as colorful as this remarkable type of bird, especially the males.
In this article, you’ll discover some of the most interesting facts about the Gouldian Finch.
1. They are a type of passerine bird in the Estrildidae family
The Gouldian finch, also known as the “rainbow finch,” is a type of estrildid finch. Estrildid finches are small, seed-eating birds native to the Old World and Australia.
These are passerine birds, also known as perching birds or songbirds. This is a group of birds that make up the scientific order Passeriformes.
Passerines are characterized by their strong, sharp claws and their zygodactyl feet, which allow them to perch easily on branches. They are the most diverse group of birds and include more than 60% of all bird species.
2. It was named after the British ornithologist and illustrator who first described it
The Gouldian finch is named after the ornithologist, John Gould (1804-1881), who first described and illustrated the bird in his 1848 book “A Monograph of the Trochilidae, or Family of Hummingbirds.”
He named it Erythrura gouldiae, after his wife, Elizabeth Gould, who was also an artist and helped illustrate the book.
The common name “Gouldian finch” is derived from John Gould’s name, in recognition of his role in describing and promoting the species.
3. Male birds come in three different types of colors
Male Gouldian finches have three color morphs: red-headed, black-headed, and yellow-headed.
- Red-headed males have a red head and breast, with a mostly black back and wings.
- Black-headed males have a black head and breast, with a mostly green back and wings.
- Yellow-headed males have a yellow head and breast, with a mostly green back and wings.
Females are usually greenish-yellow with a black tail and wing tips, which makes it easy to tell the difference between males and females.
It is important to note that the color of the head of the male Gouldian finch can vary depending on its diet and environment.
4. They are native to the northern part of Australia
The Gouldian finch is native to Australia and is found primarily in the northern regions of the country. They are found in a range of habitats, including open woodlands, savannahs, and grasslands.
They are known to inhabit the tropical and subtropical regions of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and Queensland.
5. They mostly feed on grass and seeds
The diet of the Gouldian finch consists mainly of grass and other seeds, as well as fruits and insects.
In the wild, they feed on a variety of grass seeds, including Panicum, Chloris, and Echinochloa. They also eat small insects such as termites and beetles, as well as fruits and berries when available.
In captivity, they can be fed with a variety of seeds such as canary, millet, and oats, as well as a small number of fruits and vegetables.
As with all birds, It is important to provide a balanced diet that includes a variety of seeds, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure the bird’s health.
It’s also important to note that the diet of the Gouldian finch should also contain a source of grit and mineral supplements, this will help them to digest their food properly and also provide necessary minerals for their growth and reproduction.
6. They live between 5 to 8 years in the wild but longer in captivity
The lifespan of the Gouldian finch can vary depending on its living conditions. In the wild, their lifespan is usually around 5-8 years.
In captivity, with proper care and nutrition, they can live up to 10 years or more, depending on how happy they are with their environment (yes, they are prone to stress as well).
7. They are a sign of good luck for aboriginal people in Australia
The Gouldian finch is considered a sacred and important bird to the indigenous people of Australia, particularly the Warlpiri people of the Northern Territory. They are believed to be symbols of luck, fertility, and rain, and are associated with the Dreamtime stories of these cultures.
In Warlpiri culture, the Gouldian finch is considered a “Rainbow Serpent” and is associated with the creation of the world, and the bringing of the first rain. They believe that the bird’s brightly colored plumage represents the colors of the rainbow and that the bird brings the rain with it when it appears.
Gouldian finch is also associated with the creation of the stars and the Milky Way, and it is believed that when the birds fly through the sky, they create the stars.
It is also believed that the bird’s bright colors are a symbol of healing and that their feathers can be used in traditional medicine.
8. These social birds live in large flocks in the wild
The Gouldian finch is a social bird that is known to form flocks in the wild and will often be found in large groups. They are also known to form strong pair bonds and will typically mate for life.
In the wild, they form flocks that can number in the hundreds, and these flocks will often move together in search of food. They are known to be very vocal birds and will communicate with each other through a variety of calls and songs.
In captivity, they are also known to be social birds and will often form strong bonds with other finches. They are known to be peaceful birds and can be housed with other finch species as well as other small birds.
9. They were endangered but their status has changed recently
The population of the Gouldian finch has declined significantly in recent years due to a variety of factors such as habitat loss, the introduction of non-native animals, and other human activities.
Habitat destruction, primarily from land clearing for agriculture and mining, has been the main cause of the decline in the number of Gouldian Finches. The destruction of woodlands and savannahs has resulted in the loss of breeding and feeding habitats for the birds.
The population of the Gouldian finch has decreased dramatically and it is estimated that between 5,000 and 50,000 individuals are flying around in the wild.
Luckily, the status of this bird has been adjusted in 2022 to “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.
10. They are popular pets but don’t have beautiful singing voices
The Gouldian finch is known for its beautiful plumage, but it is not known for its singing ability. They are known to be very vocal birds, and they communicate with each other through a variety of calls and songs, but their songs are not considered to be particularly melodic or musical.
The Gouldian finch’s calls are mostly used for communication purposes, such as warning calls, contact calls, and courtship calls. The males will make different calls when they are trying to attract a mate and when they are protecting their territory.
The females also make calls, but they are less vocal than the males. They will make contact calls to their mate, and they will also make calls to warn off other females that are trying to approach their nest.
Keeping a Gouldian finch at home is nice, but if you want a nice singing bird, this is not a great pet!