Amadina gouldiae Gould, 1844. OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Rainbow finch, painted finch, lady Gould, purple-breasted finch; French: Diamant de Gould; German: Goul-damadine; Spanish: Pinzón de Gould.
4.9-5.5 in (12.5-14 cm). The most brightly colored estrildid, this species is sexually dimorphic; females have a shorter tail and a paler breast. Juveniles are a duller, paler version of the adults. Black-headed, red-headed, and yellow-headed varieties exist naturally in the wild. The black-headed is the common morph (75% of the population) while only one in several thousand is of the yellow-headed variety.
Fragmented areas in north-central Australia.
Found in dry grassland, plains, areas near water, forest edges, scrubland, and savanna woodland.
Found in flocks of up to several hundred individuals. This shy species tends to avoid areas inhabited by humans. The call is a "sit," "ssit-ssit," or a "sree." The song is a very soft, almost inaudible series of whispers, hisses, whinings, and clicks.
Feeds among grasses on a variety of seeds, especially those of sorghum, and on diverse insects and spiders, especially during the breeding season. Drinks in a pigeon-like manner.
Breeds from November to April during which it builds a globular nest without an entrance tube and sometimes without a roof. Occasionally this species will also use holes in trees or termite mounds as a nesting site. Four to seven white eggs are incubated for 14-15 days.
Endangered. The decrease in numbers is thought to be due to widespread burning of grasses and increase in grazing within its native range.
Commonly kept and bred in captivity where young are often fostered by Bengalese or society finches, a domesticated form of the white-backed munia (Lonchura striata). In captivity this species has an unusually high predisposition to the air sac mite
(Sternostoma tracheacolum). ♦
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