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24

Plum-headed Finch

(Neochmia modesta)
Alternate name(s): "Plum-capped Finch", "Plumhead", "Modest Finch", "Cherry Finch", "Plain-coloured Finch", "Diadem Finch"
Size: 11-12 cm
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Plum-headed Finch at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Not the photos you want? Or are you after even better quality? Have a look here .

ADULT

MALE

Frontal view of a male Plum-headed Finch
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, May 2017]

Near-frontal view of a male Plum-headed Finch, with a female close behind
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2009]

Lateral view of a male Plum-headed Finch
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, March 2013]

Lateral view of a pair of Plum-headed Finches; male below, female above
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, May 2017]

Near-dorsal view of a male Plum-headed Finch
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2009]

Dorsal view of a male Plum-headed Finch
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2009]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Plum-headed Finch stretching a wing (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

Near-frontal view of a female Plum-headed Finch
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2009]

Near-frontal view of a female Plum-headed Finch (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Lateral view of a female Plum-headed Finch (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Different lateral view of a female Plum-headed Finch (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Lateral view of a female Plum-headed Finch
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2009]

Lateral view of a female Plum-headed Finch (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

Poor-quality photo of a female Plum-headed Finch foraging in a shady area; this is the bird whose call was recorded on 31 October 2014

Near-dorsal view of a female Plum-headed Finch (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

Female Plum-headed Finch searching for seeds on the ground; note the faint-brown spot in front of the eye
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2009]

Dorsal view of a female Plum-headed Finch; in this image one can see the bird's dotted rump
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2009]

Here a somewhat ruffled female Plum-headed Finch
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2009]

Pair of Plum-headed Finches in high reeds; male on top, female below
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2009]

Looking at you, I think you need a wash! Preen?...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2009]

Preen! Outside leg first...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2009]

Plum-headed Finches foraging on the ground (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

Part of a flock of about 150 Plum-headed Finches (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Part of a flock of Plum-headed Finches taking a bath in a puddle, together with Zebra Finches (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Terry Hie Hie, NSW, February 2014]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Female Plum-headed Finch (right) with an immature bird (left), in reeds
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, March 2009]

Frontal view of an immature Plum-headed Finch
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, March 2009]

Two immature Plum-headed Finches hiding in reeds (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Near-frontal view of a somewhat older immature Plum-headed Finch
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, March 2009]

Near-lateral view of an immature Plum-headed Finch; this photo in particular shows up very clearly the similarity with Indian Silverbills
[February 2011]

Lateral view of an immature Plum-headed Finch
[Near Narrabri, NSW, February 2012]

Dorsal view of an immature Plum-headed Finch
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, March 2009]

Family of Plum-headed Finches in the top of a dead tree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2009]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Oct - Apr Eggs: 4 - 6 Incubation period: 12 - 14 days Fledging age: 21 days

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Dome basket Material: Grass with feather lining Height above ground <2 m

Admittedly, the nest of the Plum-headed Finch is not visible in this photo, because we could not approach it without disturbing the birds, but we saw an adult bird (or two adults) entering and leaving these two grass tussocks frequently; the nest entrance is most likely in between the tussocks
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, March 2009]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 17 x 12 mm Colour: White Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Dispersive Elementary unit: FLock

All species of finches known to us are highly sociable.

Plum-headed Finches can often be found in tall reeds, in particular when they have mature seeds
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, May 2017]

Here the only Plum-headed Finch we have seen high up in a treetop
[Near Narrabri, NSW, February 2012]

Food, Diet

Adults: Seeds Dependents: Regurgitated seeds Water intake: Daily

Like all other finches known to us, Plum-headed Finches feed on seeds. These include grass seeds and seeds of reeds.

Female Plum-headed Finch with a seed stuck to its bill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2013]

Pair of Plum-headed Finches foraging for seeds in grassland
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2013]

Plum-headed Finches foraging for seeds in grassland (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Terry Hie Hie, NSW, July 2013]

Male Plum-headed Finch using a shrub to reach the seeds of tall grass
[Pallamallawa, NSW, April 2014]

Plum-headed Finches using a fence to reach the seeds of tall grass
[Tiger Bay Wetlands, Warren, NSW, December 2016]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

plumhed_20140519_2.mp3 (NW NSW) Contact calls © MD
plumhed_20141031.mp3 (NW NSW) Contact call (female) © MD
plumhed_20170503_3.mp3 (NW NSW) Contact calls (flock) © MD
plumhed_20170503_2.mp3 (NW NSW) Contact calls (flock in-flight) © MD
plumhed_20150423.mp3 (NW NSW) Contact calls (in-flight) © MD
plumhed_20151222_2.mp3 (NW NSW) Pair Q&A (in-flight) © MD
plumhed_20170503.mp3 (NW NSW) Warning calls (male) © MD
plumhed_20150619.mp3 (NW NSW) Various (feeding mob) © MD
plumhed_20150619_2.mp3 (NW NSW) Various (feeding mob) © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.