Gough finch

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Gough finch
Gough Bunting Male.JPG
Male Gough bunting on Gough Island
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Thraupidae
Genus: Rowettia
Lowe, 1923
Species: R. goughensis
Binomial name
Rowettia goughensis
(Clarke, 1904)

Nesospiza jessiae

The Gough finch or Gough bunting (Rowettia goughensis) is a critically endangered songbird species.

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

Traditionally considered a bunting and placed in the family Emberizidae, it is actually neither a bunting nor a true finch, but belongs to a group of finch-like birds or tanager-finches in the family Thraupidae. In particular it shares some plumage characteristics with the South American genus Melanodera[2] which may be its nearest mainland relative.[3]

Another species of finch was described from Gough Island, Nesospiza jessiae, in 1904. This species was later identified as juveniles of the Gough finch.[4]


The Gough finch is 22 to 26 cm (8.7–10.2 in) in length and weighs 50–56 g (1.8–2.0 oz).[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is endemic to the remote Gough Island, part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, and nearby stacks, in the South Atlantic. Its natural habitats are temperate shrubland and subantarctic grassland.

The immature was described as Nesospiza jessiae

Status and conservation[edit]

It was formerly classified as a Vulnerable species by the IUCN.[6] But new research has shown that its population has collapsed and it is on the verge of extinction due to the introduced population of house mice (Mus musculus), noted for its unusual aggressiveness,[7] competing with the birds for food and eating their eggs and nestlings. Consequently, it was uplisted to Critically Endangered in 2008.[8]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Rowettia goughensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ See Ridgely, R. S., & G. Tudor. 1989. The Birds of South America, vol. 1. P.448
  3. ^ Rand (1955) & Vuilleumier (1991)
  4. ^ Lowe, P. R. (28 June 2008). "XXXI.-Notes on some Land Birds of the Tristan da Cunha Group collected by the 'Quest' Expedition". Ibis. 65 (3): 511–528. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1923.tb08110.x. 
  5. ^ Ryan, P. & Sharpe, C.J. (2017). Gough Finch (Rowettia goughensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/62039 on 28 March 2017).
  6. ^ BLI (2004)
  7. ^ Wanless et al. (2007)
  8. ^ BLI (2008)


External links[edit]