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Raising the bar

June 20, 2021

Red-browed Finches (Neochmia temporalis) are small birds easily recognisable by the red streak above the eye and the bright red rump displayed when flying. The scientific name meaning ‘new bird with temples’ is derived from the Greek words ‘neokhmos’ meaning new and ‘temporalis’ meaning to do with the temples i.e. forehead.

These finches are seed-eaters and are often found on the ground where forests meet open pasture. They forage in flocks of up to 20 birds and often with other groups of social birds such as Superb Fairy-wrens. Red-browed Finches are ‘weaver finches’ constructing in dense shrubs large communal woven domed nests made out of grass that have a side entrance.

The male courts the female finch by holding a piece of grass in its beak and then dancing to and from the female. I recently observed the same behaviour with a male holding a feather in its beak (pictured above/right, unfortunately with only an iPhone). I am not sure if it was trying to impress a female or was just collecting nest-building material.

If it was the former, it had just raised the bar.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rosemary Simon-Ralph permalink
    June 20, 2021 10:04 am

    I once held a chick which had fallen from its rose bush nest. A beautiful experience. I miss those tiny creatures. Here we have just begun to see honey eaters and can’t wait to plant more native plants which will provide homes for other small birds.

  2. Vicki permalink
    June 20, 2021 10:35 am

    Fantastic capture. I’ve never witnessed this courting ritual.

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