WTP Zebra Finch

When I first saw Zebra Finches in the wild it was in the Red Centre, they were surrounded by red rocks and red dirt and they looked perfectly at home. Seeing them at the Western Treatment Plant surrounded by green grasses still seems a little odd.



Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) – female
1/1250, f/6.3, ISO 1600


This week I’m sharing a little series of this female Zebra Finch perching on one of the many wire fences at the poo paddocks, with her feathers affected by the breeze.

These finches are about 12g and measure about 12cm. Remarkably, they can reproduce after about 10 or 11 weeks of age, which gives them a place in the record books as one of the speediest bird species to reach sexual maturity.



Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) – female
1/1250, f/6.3, ISO 1600

Male Zebra Finches have bright orange cheek patches and orange flanks with white spots. They can be seen in the ancient lirralirra post: Little Aussie Zebras

In more arid areas, including the Red Centre, I’ve seen these finches in large, noisy groups; at the WTP I’ve only seen them in extended family groups.



Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) – female
1/1250, f/6.3, ISO 1600


The crested Zebra Finch, above, is a rare species that only appears on windy days.

I recently read a fascinating article about Zebra Finches singing songs to their unhatched eggs on days with high temperatures. Dr Mylene Mariette, Deakin University, studied the phenomenon and discovered that the song impacts the growth of offspring and increases the number of fledglings they in turn raise as adults: maybe this will help the species cope with climate change.

Happy birding


Link: Zebra Finch call prepares their eggs for climate change


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