The Star Finch, Bathilda ruficauda, also known as the Starred or Black-cheeked Finch, is a small but brightly coloured bird native to Australia. It is a popular species among aviculturists due to its striking appearance and pleasant disposition. These particular birds fly freely within the Mariposario de Benalmádena (Butterfly Park) along with other birds and, of course, a multitude of butterflies and moths.
Adult (right) and juvenile (left)…
Star Finches are typically around 10-12 cm in length and weigh between 10-15 grams. The males have a distinctive bright orange-red face, throat, and upper chest, with a black bib extending down the centre of the chest. The rest of their body is a muted brownish-grey with white spots on the wings and tail. The bill is scarlet. Females are less brightly coloured, with a grey-brown head and breast and a lighter-coloured body.
Juvenile birds are olive to brownish with a grey face and head.
Habitat and Range
The Star Finch is found throughout most of mainland Australia, although it is absent from the southeastern and southwestern corners of the continent. They are typically found in dry savannas, grasslands, and scrublands, and are often seen in flocks of up to 100 birds.
Diet and Behaviour
In the wild, Star Finches feed mainly on grass seeds and small insects. They are known for their acrobatic abilities, often hanging upside down from seed heads to extract the seeds. In captivity, they can be fed a diet of commercial finch seed mixes, along with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Star Finches are sociable birds and thrive in aviaries or large cages with plenty of space to fly and play. They are relatively easy to care for and can make great pets for bird enthusiasts.
Although the Star Finch is not considered a threatened species, populations have declined in some parts of their range due to habitat loss and degradation. In Australia, they are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act, and it is illegal to capture them from the wild without a permit.