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          By joining the biggest community of bird lovers in Australia, you can help us make a positive impact on the future of our native birdlife. The members of BirdLife Australia, along with our supporters and partners, have been powerful advocates for native birds and the conservation of their habitats since 1901.

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          Black-throated Finch

          Poephila cincta

          The Black-throated Finch is divided into two separate subspecies. Both subspecies inhabit open grassy woodlands where they forage on the ground, pecking at fallen seeds, sometimes in the company of other finches. The range of the southern subspecies has contracted greatly in recent years, and it is no longer found in north-eastern NSW, where it was last recorded in the mid-1990s. The reduction of its range is mainly due to the clearing, fragmentation or modification of its habitat.



          The Black-throated Finch has a bluish-grey head with a short black stripe from the base of the bill to the eye. Its chin, throat and upper breast is black. The back is pinkish brown and the rump is black; in the northern subspecies the tail is wholly black, but in the southern subspecies, the base of the tail is white, with the remainder black. The lower breast and belly are rufous brown; there is a black stripe extending across the flanks, and the undertail coverts and undertail are white. The wings are bark brown above and dull rufous brown below. The bill is black and the eyes are dark reddish-brown.

          Similar Species

          The Black-throated Finch could be confused with the Long-tailed Finch, but it has a shorter, square-cut tail and a black beak. It can be distinguished from the Masked Finch by its grey head, black beak, extensive black ‘bib’ and short, square-cut tail. 



          The Black-throated Finch now occurs only in Queensland. It formerly occurred in north-eastern NSW; it was last recorded there in 1994. There are two subspecies of Black-throated Finches. The northern subspecies occurs in north Queensland, mainly on Cape York Peninsula, extending into parts of the Gulf Country. The southern subspecies is recorded at a few scattered sites, mainly near Townsville and in the Galilee Basin of Central Queensland. It is estimated that in recent decades its range has contracted by about 80 per cent.


          They generally inhabit dry, open woodlands dominated by eucalypts, paperbarks or acacias with dense grassy groundcover, often along watercourses or drainage lines. In northern Australia they occur where there is a mosaic of different habitats during the wet season.



          Black-throated Finches usually forage in small flocks, taking fallen seeds of native grasses from open ground. They also pluck seeds directly from seedheads, reaching up to pluck them or perching on the stem to weigh it down to the ground, where the seeds are removed. They also occasionally also take insects, especially during the breeding season. 


          The nest of the Black-throated Finch is woven from grass stems into a domed structure with a side entrance. It is lined with soft seedheads, plant down and feathers, and is usually placed in the outermost twigs of trees or shrubs, though some nests are located in the base of the stick nest of a raptor, while some others use old nests of babblers or other finches. They usually lay five or six white eggs, which are incubated by both sexes. The nestlings are fed by both sexes.

          Conservation Status


          Endangered (southern subspecies)


          Endangered (southern subspecies)


          Not present


          Endangered (southern subspecies)


          Not present


          Not present


          Not present


          Not present