There can be fewer birds more beautiful than the Gouldian Finch. Native to Australia, the Gouldian Finch was named by British bird artist John Gould in 1844 in honour of his wife Elizabeth. About 70% of birds are black-headed, 30% are red-headed, and rarely, about one bird in 5000 is yellow-headed. Interestingly, due to a certain amount of genetic incompatibility, it has been shown that female finches can control the sex of their offspring by choosing mates according to their head colour.
Due to over-trapping (now banned), habitat destruction and susceptibility to viruses and parasites, their conservation status is near threatened. Three males are depicted here. © Frances McMahon 2021
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