Birds | Gouldian Finch | 2

The Gouldian Finch (Chloebia gouldiae) are the most spectacularly coloured of the Australian grass finches. A small bird, there are three separate forms of the Gouldian Finch species, the common black-headed form; a red-headed form; and the rarer yellow-headed form. The different colours of the feathering on their faces is the only difference, as the rest of the plumage of the three forms is the same. They have a mixture of pale blue, yellow and purple, with grass-green backs and wings.

Once found across northern Australia in their many thousands, the population of Gouldian Finch has dramatically declined, with the species now seen in small flocks in a few locations in the Northern Territory and the Kimberley, with the occasional sighting Queensland. They have been sighted in Yinberrie Hills (just north of Katherine), Nitmiluk, Limmen and Gregory National Parks. Some of the images on this page are just south of Larrimah in the Northern Territory.

The Gouldian Finches are found in tropical savanna woodland, often in hilly areas, amongst the grassy understorey. Here they forage among the preferred annual and perennial grass species, feeding on seeds such as speargrass (Sorghum) seeds. They are seen near water sources, as they need to drink water daily. They nest in tree hollows, such as Snappy Gum (Eucalyptus brevifolia) and Salmon Gum (Eucalyptus tintinnans).

Gouldian Finches can also be seen in the presence of other species, especially around water sources, as seen in the following photographs, near a dripping water pipe.

Following photos of Gouldian Finch with Masked Finch (Poephila personata), Peaceful Doves (Geopelia placida), Long-Tailed (Poephila acuticauda), also known as Heck’s Finch and the Long-Tailed (yellow-billed) (Poephila acuticauda)

Common name
Gouldian Finch, Lady Gouldian Finch, Gould’s Finch, Rainbow Finch.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Estrildidae
  • Genus: Chloebia
  • Species: C. gouldiae
  • Binomial name: Chloebia gouldiae

Footnote & References

  1. Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae), Threatened Species of the Northern Territory, https://nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/206353/gouldian-finch.pdf
  2. Nature Notes – Gouldian Finches – Northern Territory, https://nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/199950/gouldian-finches.pdf
  3. Gouldian finch, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gouldian_finch (last visited Sept. 10, 2021).