Finch extinction

To: 'John Harris' <>, 'chatline' <>
Subject: Finch extinction
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Wed, 8 May 2019 04:19:02 +0000

This is outside of the usual focus of this chatline. I too kept several species of finches in the mid 1970s in Melbourne. I don’t recall that there were the eastern form of the Star Finches available. I suspect that the eastern form of the Star Finches is the same as the southern race that John refers to. I have not received “the email this morning from Birdlife”. The birds from WA are more colourful and it was generally the “WA Stars” that were advertised and valued. Just my opinion that whilst the Double-bar Finches are the cutest of the finches, the Star Finches are by far the nicest, by terms of temperament and being cheerily active, and very attractive birds. They are rather good breeders. As for changes in ethics that John refers to, maybe, but decades of selective breeding for a range of differences (such as yellow faces) will have muddied the waters there a lot, in terms of original forms. I would suspect that whatever eastern or southern Star Finches there would have been, they are very likely to either be very inbred or the opposite, not segregated from the western ones or selected for oddities.


If people are interested in a local group there is the

Canberra Finch Club or national group Avicultural Society of Australia based in Melbourne  (there are others).




From: John Harris [
Sent: Wednesday, 8 May, 2019 9:03 AM
To: chatline
Subject: [canberrabirds] Finch extinction


Many of you will have received the email this morning from Birdlife regarding the extinction of the southern race of the Star Finch, Neochmia ruficauda ruficauda. It occurred to me to wonder if there are any aviary birds. I had relatives who kept and bred aviary birds. I am aware, of course, that trapping finches has contributed to their decline although I know my uncles were ethical about that and taught me only ever to have aviary-bred birds. I dabbled a bit myself as a boy but have not had a caged bird for 65 years. However, back then Star Finches were among my favourites. I  recall that we had several colours and that Uncle Jack had a pure-breeding aviary of browner Star Finches with larger spots, which I now think could have been N.r.r. He called them the NSW Star Finch. So I did a very small piece of research and I discover that Finch breeding enthusiasts doubt that there is any pure N.r.r. strain left.

I was pleased to note, however, that the serious aviary societies are now trying to be as ethical as possible in not breeding different races together and that they are aware of their responsibility to maintain pure breeding stocks so that finches etc may be able to be reintroduced.   It is a pity that no N.r.r remain in the aviary world although it surprises me. I guess in the last 60 years, no one kept them pure in the race for different coloured mutations. To read about aviary ethics and responsible breeding, and what rarities are still held in aviaries, here is a link.



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