SOCIAL BIRD: The Chestnut-breasted Mannikin is a thick-set brown finch with a grey crown, black face and a heavy grey bill. Photo: Contributed
SOCIAL BIRD: The Chestnut-breasted Mannikin is a thick-set brown finch with a grey crown, black face and a heavy grey bill. Photo: Contributed

One of the finch species that calls our region home

The Chestnut-breasted Mannikin is a thick-set brown finch with a grey crown, black face and a heavy grey bill.

It has a chestnut brown breast divided from white underparts by a black bar. The rump and tail are golden orange, with a black undertail.

Females are paler than males and young birds are uniformly olive-brown above, pale below with a brown-buff chest and no black face or chest bar.

Like other finches, this species is a very social bird and is most often seen in flocks.

The Chestnut-breasted Mannikin nests in colonies, with the nests close together in grass clumps, sugar cane or reeds, less than 2 m from the ground.

The rounded nest is made from green or dried grass blades and is lined with fine grasses. It lacks an entrance tunnel but the entrance may have a hood.

Both parents build the nest, incubate the eggs and feed the young, but only the female stays in the nest overnight.

It is usually found in reed beds, long grass, swamps and mangroves and nearly always near water. It feeds on grass seeds, usually on the stalk rather than from the ground.

It will also eat winged termites at the beginning of the breeding season.

One of the more colourful of our finch species.

In Australia there are a number of native finches, which includes mannikins and firetails, that belong to the Family Passeridae.

There are also a number of introduced finches such as the Goldfinch and Greenfinch from the UK and the Nutmeg Mannikin, originally from Asia, and a popular caged bird which escaped into the wild.

The best places to see the Chestnut-breasted Mannikin are at Baldwin Swamp, Burnett Heads, Mon Repos and Bargara.

Allan Briggs is the secretary of BirdLife Capricornia, ask him your bird questions at abriggs@irock.com.au



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