Double-barred finch family

Fauna and Flora at QMag's mine site with Dr John McGrath Part 1:  Double-barred finch


Whilst we actively mine magnesite at our Kunwarara Mine, a plethora of birds, large to small, live and feed in the tropical dry grassland, shrub land and open woodland terrain adjacent to the mine pits.

In this pic a juvenile double-barred finch (below) is making use of an old windmill at the Yaamba Mine site to have a drink of water with it’s parents. It is enjoyable knowing that whilst we dig up magnesite these owl-faced birds and many others thrive and call the mine their home.

Double-barred finches (Taeniopygia bichenovii) are small, measuring no more than 12cm and weighing a mere 7-10g or about the same as a 20 cent coin.  Don’t let size fool you though as they gregariously zoom around in groups of up to 40 individuals before foraging on the ground for seeds and insects including termites and fly puppa.

Anyone who works outdoors in the Australian summer should appreciate their efforts to keep fly numbers down!

They live up to 6 years old and lay 4-6 eggs per clutch in nests built in grass, bushes or low trees, even roof eaves near wasp nests. Young leave the nest when 2-3 weeks old and are fed by the adults for another 3 weeks or so.

They’re never far from water (something we have lots of) and you can recognise them in flight as they bounce around in flight or feed on the ground in groups with a soft fluting song.

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Fauna and Flora at QMag's mine site with Dr John McGrath Part 3

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