Gouldian Finch

Gouldian Finch

Lady Gouldian finch, Gould's finch, Rainbow finch

Erythrura gouldiae
Population size
Life Span
5-9 yrs
14 g
125-140 mm

The Gouldian finch is a small colorful bird native to Australia. Both males and females are brightly colored with black, green, yellow, and red markings. however, the females tend to be less brightly colored. One major difference between the sexes is that the male's chest is purple, while the female's is a lighter mauve. Gouldian finches' heads may be red, black, or yellow. Juveniles are a greenish-gray in color.


Gouldian finches are native to Australia and now occur only in the Northern Territory and in the Kimberley in Western Australia. These birds live in the tropical savannah, thickets, and woodlands with grassy plains usually near water.

Gouldian Finch habitat map


Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Gouldian finches are social birds and outside the breeding season, they often join mixed flocks that may consist of up to 1,000-2,000 individuals. In the dry season, they usually become more nomadic and move to wherever their food and water can be found. Gouldian finches are active during the day. They often forage in small groups on the ground or in flight. These are generally silent birds but from time to time they utter a high-pitched whistling 'ssitt'. They also make trills, soft chirps, and hisses.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Gouldian finches are herbivores (granivores); they feed on ripe and half-ripe grass seeds and occasionally some insects.

Mating Habits

dry season
13 days
40 days
4-8 eggs

Gouldian finches are monogamous and form long-lasting pair bonds. They usually breed in the early part of the dry season, when there is plenty of food around. When a male is courting a female, he bobs about and ruffles his feathers in an attempt to show off his bright colors. He will expand his chest and fluff out the feathers on his forehead. Pairs usually make their nests in tree holes. The female lays a clutch of about 4-8 eggs. Incubation lasts for 13 days done by both parents during the daytime, and the female usually stays on the eggs at night. When the eggs hatch, both parents care for their young. The chicks are altricial; they hatch naked and blind. They fledge and are ready to leave the nest 19-23 days after hatching and become completely independent at 40 days old.


Population threats

The major threats to Gouldian finches are wildfires that occur during the dry season. These fires destroy birds' native habitat and take away their food. Other serious threats come from increasing human developments and from cattle grazing which also destroys grasses that Gouldian finches are so dependent on for food. Gouldian finches are also a popular bird in aviculture because of their striking colors. In the past, these small colorful birds were trapped for aviculture and were often reported as one of the more common of the eleven finch species.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the total Gouldian finch population size is around 2,400 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are stable.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The Gouldian finch was described by British ornithological artist John Gould in 1844 as 'Amadina gouldiae', in honor of his wife Elizabeth.
  • Gouldian finch chicks have brightly colored gapes and call loudly when their parents return so that they are able to find and feed their mouths in the dark nest.
  • During the breeding season, Gouldian finches nest mainly in tree hollows and they are the only grassfinches that do so.
  • Gouldian finches are not loud or noisy birds and only males are known to sing.


1. Gouldian Finch on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gouldian_finch
2. Gouldian Finch on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22719744/94642482

More Fascinating Animals to Learn About