Sunday, August 19, 2012

Double-barred Finch Taeniopygia bichenovii


At first I thought the bird in the center was a female Red-browed Finch as it was in the same flock as the Red-browed Finches I took photos and videos of yesterday, but enlarging the picture above reveals a completely different bird. It has a distinctive dark bar under it's throat. Red-browed Finches don't have that feature at all. I've also read that male and female Red-browed Finches look similiar to each other. So what are these other birds in the photo?

I have finally identified the bird in the center (to the best of my ability and I'm almost 100% certain of it) as being a Double-barred Finch, along with the bird at the very back to be a juvenile Double-barred Finch. The juvenile is hard to see in the photo as it just looks like a bluish olive coloured smudge of colour. The rest of the birds in this photo are definitely Red-browed Finches.

Going on the colour formation of the closest Double-barred Finch to the camera lense, I am guessing it is a young bird, perhaps almost an adult but older than a juvenile. It is not fully grown and may not be breeding yet. Either way it is a wonderful discovery!

I have to confess that I have seen these Double-barred Finches before but I don't know where. Their appearance is distinctively eerie, especially when they lift their heads up and look straight at you. It's like looking at a tiny blue-faced owl - even though no such creature exists.

Why Double-barred Finches would flock with Red-browed Finches is a mystery. Perhaps there is safety in numbers? I have no idea exactly how many Double-barred Finches I saw yesterday but going on the fact there was about 30-50 Finches in the entire flock, it is possible there could have been either one quarter to one third of them being Double-barred Finches.

Hopefully I can get better photos and/or close up videos of these birds before they disappear. The flock in which I have seen them in have been visiting my neighbour, Carol's garden for some time now - perhaps a month or two. I do not know how long they have been in Tenterfield, as the flock of Finches are not easy to photograph or video tape, as they are constantly moving. Sometimes you can hear the flock but cannot see them. Other times you can hear them and momentarily see them before they all fly away. The flock rarely keeps still - as a whole. Unfortunately I do not have a big enough zoom on my digital camera to get a close up photo of the birds.

For more info on this species click here.

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