The star finch (Neochmia ruficauda) is a bird species found in northern Australia.
An estrildid finch, between 4.5—5 inches in length, with crimson fore-parts of the head and a scarlet bill. The upper and lower plumage is yellow-green, white spotted on the underparts, the belly more yellow. The upper tail coverts are scarlet, tail feathers are brownish scarlet. The female has less crimson on the head, and generally duller than the male, the immature star finch is olive to brownish with a grey face and head.
Found in northern coastal regions of Australia, occurring at sparsely wooded habitat of tall grass or rushes around creeks and swamps.
Three subspecies have been described,
- Neochmia ruficauda subclarescens (inhabits in three separate subpopulations, from Pilbara, Fitzroy River Valley and Gibb River, Western Australia to the Northern Territory/ Queensland border.)
- Neochmia ruficauda clarescens (located on the Cape York Peninsula)
- Neochmia ruficauda ruficauda (probably extinct)
The star finch is still common in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, however is rare and endangered in Queensland and is extinct in the southern part of that state. Its habitat is threatened by overgrazing of grasslands, removing essential cover for their survival as well as sources of food and water. Selective grazing of perennials during the wet season may also remove grasses that are needed for survival during the dry season. Burning of grassland during the dry season may reduce the fallen seed during the wet season and thus reduce the food supply needed by the star finch. This species is also threatened by the cage-bird trade.
Yellow/mango faced subspecies are also called Buddha star finches because the colour is similar to the buddhist monk kutten.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Neochmia ruficauda". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Reader's digest complete book of Australian birds (2nd rev. ed.). Reader's Digest Services. 1982. p. 532. ISBN 0909486638.
- Serventy, D. L.; Whittell, H. M. (1951). A handbook of the birds of Western Australia (with the exception of the Kimberley division) (2nd ed.). Perth: Paterson Brokensha. pp. 230–31.
- BirdLife Species Factsheet
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Neochmia ruficauda.|
- Species profile - Finch Information Center