Overview

Comprehensive Description

The Crimson Finch (white-bellied) is a small bird that measures about 13 cm long, has a wing-span of about 16 or 17 cm, and a mass of about eight to 10 g. The plumage of the adults differs between the sexes. The adult males have a bright red face, bill, throat and breast, and have bright red flanks that have a series of white spots running along them. They have greyish-brown colouring on the crown and back of the head, the rear and sides of the neck, the back and shoulders, and the upper surfaces of the wings. The brownish-grey colouring on the back and shoulders, and on the upper surfaces of the wings, is suffused with red. They have white colouring on the under surfaces of the wings, a white to cream belly, and white to cream thighs and undertail coverts; the tail itself is mainly red above, with darker centres to the feathers, and brown below, with red trim. Their irises vary in colour from red to brownish, and they have brownish legs and feet (Higgins et al. 2006). The adult females have a bright red face, but differ from the adult males in having a brownish-grey breast, brown flanks (that retain the white spotting of the male), and brown thighs and uppertail coverts. They have paler, greyish-brown colouring on the crown and back of the head, the rear and sides of the neck, the back and shoulders, and the upper surfaces of the wings, and the red suffusion on the back and shoulders, and on the upper surfaces of the wings, is paler and weaker than in the adult males. The appearance is otherwise similar to that of adult males (Higgins et al. 2006). Juvenile birds can be distinguished from the adults. The most obvious differences are the predominantly brown plumage (including brown plumage on the face), the duller and less extensive suffusion of red, the dark brown or greyish-black bill, and the absence of the white spots on the flanks (Higgins et al. 2006 ). The Crimson Finch (white-bellied) occurs in pairs, small groups and, following the breeding season, often in loose flocks of 40 to 60 birds (Garnett & Bredl 1985; Todd 2006, pers. comm.)

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Distribution

Subspecies and Distribution:


    * evangelinae D'Albertis & Salvadori, 1879 - S New Guinea (Trans-Fly region) and extreme NE Australia (S to C Cape York Peninsula). * phaeton ( Hombron & Jacquinot, 1841) - N Western Australia (Kimberley Division), N Northern Territory and NW, NE & E Queensland.


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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

The Crimson Finch (white-bellied) is a small bird that measures about 13 cm long, has a wing-span of about 16 or 17 cm, and a mass of about eight to 10 g. The plumage of the adults differs between the sexes. The adult males have a bright red face, bill, throat and breast, and have bright red flanks that have a series of white spots running along them. They have greyish-brown colouring on the crown and back of the head, the rear and sides of the neck, the back and shoulders, and the upper surfaces of the wings. The brownish-grey colouring on the back and shoulders, and on the upper surfaces of the wings, is suffused with red. They have white colouring on the under surfaces of the wings, a white to cream belly, and white to cream thighs and undertail coverts; the tail itself is mainly red above, with darker centres to the feathers, and brown below, with red trim. Their irises vary in colour from red to brownish, and they have brownish legs and feet (Higgins et al. 2006). The adult females have a bright red face, but differ from the adult males in having a brownish-grey breast, brown flanks (that retain the white spotting of the male), and brown thighs and uppertail coverts. They have paler, greyish-brown colouring on the crown and back of the head, the rear and sides of the neck, the back and shoulders, and the upper surfaces of the wings, and the red suffusion on the back and shoulders, and on the upper surfaces of the wings, is paler and weaker than in the adult males. The appearance is otherwise similar to that of adult males (Higgins et al. 2006). Juvenile birds can be distinguished from the adults. The most obvious differences are the predominantly brown plumage (including brown plumage on the face), the duller and less extensive suffusion of red, the dark brown or greyish-black bill, and the absence of the white spots on the flanks (Higgins et al. 2006 ). The Crimson Finch (white-bellied) occurs in pairs, small groups and, following the breeding season, often in loose flocks of 40 to 60 birds (Garnett & Bredl 1985; Todd 2006, pers. comm.)

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Trophic Strategy

Their diet mainly consists of grass seeds and weeds, but they also have a fondness for insects.  

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Not Threatened

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Population

Population
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as common or locally common (Clement 1999).

Population Trend
Stable
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Wikipedia

Crimson finch

For the South American species sometimes known as the crimson finch, see Crimson-breasted finch.

The crimson finch (Neochmia phaeton) is a common species of estrildid finch found in Australia, West Papua, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It has an estimated global extent of occurrence of 100,000- 1,000,000 km2.

It is commonly found in moist savannah, and subtropical/tropical (lowland) moist shrubland. The IUCN has classified the species as being of least concern.

The crimson finch (also known as the blood finch) has two distinct races, the black-bellied and the white-bellied. The black-bellied is the more common in captivity and therefore is reflected in its pricing.

The blood finch is known by this name due to the predominantly blood red colouration of the plumage. This bird is often erroneously accused of being a "killer" in captivity. It is normally no more aggressive than any other Australian finch; only males kept as single birds for a long period of time eventually become aggressive. This finch comes from the northern part of Australia, mainly in the Northern Territory.

Crimson finches - breeding pair - Fogg Dam - Middle Point, Northern Territory - Australia (male on the left)
Fogg Dam, Middle Point, Northern Territory, Australia, March 2014
Crimson finch - female - Fogg Dam - Middle Point, Northern Territory - Australia

References[edit]

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