Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Australian Star Finches

The Star Finch Neochmia ruficauda is a species of estrildid finch found in Australia. It inhabits dry grassland and dry savanna habitats.


It has three subspecies:
  • Neochmia ruficauda subclarescens (inhabits in three separate subpopulations, from Pilbara,Fitzroy River Valley and Gibb River, Western Australia to the Northern TerritoryQueenslandborder.)
  • Neochmia ruficauda clarescens (located on the Cape York Peninsula)
  • Neochmia ruficauda ruficauda (probably extinct)


The habitat of Star Finch is threatened by overgrazing of grasslands, removing essential cover, as well as sources of food. Selective grazing of perennials during the dry season may also remove grasses that are needed for survival during the wet season. Burning of grassland during the dry season may reduce the fallen seed during the wet season and thus reduce the food supply needed by Star Finch. This species is also threatened by cage-bird trades.


Despite the Star Finch having been listed as Near Threatened in the wild it is a common aviarybird. This species has mutations such as the Yellow & Cinnamon varieties.


Origin and phylogeny has been obtained by Antonio Arnaiz-Villena et al. Estrildinae may have originated in India and dispersed thereafter (towards Africa and Pacific Ocean habitats).