The three color morphs of Gouldian finches, Erythrura gouldiae.
Image: Sarah Pryke, Macquarie University.
Gouldian finches, Erythrura gouldiae, are small cavity-nesting passerines that are endemic to open savannahs adjacent to mangrove swamps in northern Australia. These finches eat a variety of native grass seeds, but to meet the increased energetic and nutritional demands of rearing chicks, they primarily eat insects when breeding. Gouldian finches are social birds that typically occur in large flocks in the wild. Invasive species, disease and habitat destruction have dramatically reduced their population so there currently are fewer than 2500 individuals remaining in the wild. But these beautiful birds are popular avicultural subjects so there is an active conservation and captive breeding program designed to preserve them.