Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae)

Common Name (in English) Gouldian Finch
(in Chinese) 胡錦鳥、格爾丹雀、七彩文鳥
Scientific Name (in Latin) Erythrura gouldiae
Peculiar characteristics / external features: Both sexes are brightly coloured with black, green, yellow, and red markings. The females tend to be less brightly coloured. One major difference between the sexes is that the male’s chest is purple, while the female’s is a lighter mauve.

Gouldian finches are about 130–140 mm long. Gouldian finches’ heads may be red, black, or yellow. Formerly considered three different kinds of finches, it is now known that these are colour variants that exist in the wild. Selective breeding has also developed mutations (blue, yellow and silver instead of a green back) in both body and breast colour.

Distributions: These birds are found in northern Australia, from the Cape York Peninsula through north-west Queensland and the northern Northern Territory to the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Their habitat is tropical savannah woodlands. The birds are nomadic within a relatively small area (approximately 40 square kilometres) and only move when water or food becomes scarce. The largest known wild population of the species is found in the Bastion Hills, next to the town of Wyndham in the eastern Kimberley, where a 28 km2 site – the Wyndham Important Bird Area – has been identified by BirdLife International.

Prior to the Australian government’s ban on the export of Australian fauna in 1959, Gouldian finches were exported worldwide. These birds have resulted in viable breeding populations being held in many countries.

l   Dietary Like other finches, the Gouldian finch is a seed eater. During the breeding season, Gouldian finches feed mostly on ripe or half-ripe grass seeds of sorghum. During the dry season, they forage on the ground for fallen seed. During the wet season, spinifex grass seed (Triodia sp.) is an important component of their diet. So far Gouldians have been recorded as consuming six different species of grass seed, but during crop analysis, researchers have yet to find evidence of insect consumption.
l   Reproductive (Solitary/Social/Territorial, Courtship Behavior, Taking care of youngs, etc) Gouldian finches will usually make their nests in tree-holes, generally within a kilometer or so of water. They usually breed in the early part of the dry season, when there is plenty of food around. The male courtship dance is a fascinating spectacle. When a male is courting a female, he bobs about ruffling his feathers to show off his colors. He expands his chest and fluffs out his forehead feathers. After mating, a female lays a clutch of about 4–8 eggs. Both parents help brood the eggs during the daytime, and the female stays on the eggs at night. When the eggs hatch, both parents help care for the young. Gouldian finches leave the nest at between 19 and 23 days and are independent at 40 days old.


l   Whatever appropriate  
Interesting Fact: It has been shown that female Gouldian finches from Northern Australia can control the sex of their offspring by choosing mates according to their head color. A certain amount of genetic incompatibility between black and red-headed birds can result in high mortality (up to 80%) in female offspring when birds of different head colours mate. If the female mates with a finch of different head colour, this genetic incompatibility can be addressed by over-producing sons, up to a ratio of four males to one female. This is one of the first proven instances of birds biasing the sex of their offspring to overcome genetic weaknesses.



  1. https://planetaviary.com/part-4-gouldian-finch-breeding/
  2. http://www.friskyfinches.com/generalinformation.htm
  3. http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/gouldian-finch


Voice of Gouldian Finch: