finch flocks in OZ

To: Lorne Johnson <>
Subject: finch flocks in OZ
From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 18:27:25 +1000
Hello Lorne and finch-lovers,

The biggest flocks of finches that I have seen have been on the Ivanhoe Plain north of Kununurra in the East Kimberley district of NE Western Australia. During 1998-2000 I worked for the Tropical Savannas Co-operative Research Centre on the ecology of the Star Finch and Crimson Finch. I spent the wet season of 1999-2000 at Kununurra. Mixed flocks of finches made up of Star Finches, Chestnut-breasted Mannikins and Yellow-rumped Mannikins with a few other species in smaller numbers could number in the uncountable high hundreds to thousands! My attempts to count them were futile! I would guess that there were thousands. They would tend to congregate along the roadsides in the irrigation country where they would feed on seeding Urochloa mosambicensis, an introduced grass species.

Numbers were highest outside the actual breeding season when birds congregated from far afield. I've seen attempts to count the numbers but to be honest I'm sceptical that the numbers could be counted accurately. So from my personal experience I'd say the Star Finch.

On the other hand, I suspect that no finch in Australia can disperse as far as the Zebra Finch so I suspect that they would have the potential to congregate into the largest numbers of any Australian finches. I'll be very interested to hear what sort of numbers anyone has seen Zebras in!



PS. Great question!

Michael Todd Wildlifing Images & Sounds of Nature
Latest Additions: New Caledonia- Kagu, Crow Honeyeater, New Caledonian Grassbird
Toronto, NSW, Australia 04101 23715

Lorne Johnson wrote:

Hello birdlovers... Lorne here...
I was thinking about wild finch flocks the other day. What species in Australia tends to form the biggest flocks? Zebra? Has anyone seen huge flocks of finches anywhere? Ta.

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