The white-bridled finch is a strongly-patterned passerine comprising two geographically isolated subspecies that differ notably in appearance. Male birds of both subspecies have conspicuous white lines above and below the eye that recall the shape of a horses bridle, and outline black lores and a large black throat patch (2)(3). In addition, both have a greyish-blue crown and nape, greyish-olive back and rump, and greyish-yellow underparts (2)(4). However, while the male of the nominate subspecies Melanodera melanodera melanodera has mostly olive wings, M. m. princetoniana has predominately bright yellow wings, hence the alternative common name of canary-winged finch (2)(3). In contrast with the males, females of both subspecies have much duller brown plumages (2)(4).
The white-bridled finch has a heavy bill adapted to feeding on a wide variety of seeds. Nests are made from fine grass, and hidden amongst dense ground vegetation or in crevices (4). Breeding occurs from November to February on the mainland (6), and from September to December on the Falklands, with three to four eggs laid in each brood (4).
While the subspecies M. m. melanodera on the Falklands Islands is thought to be thriving, the mainland subspecies M. m. princetoniana is thought to be declining (4)(5). The primary cause of the mainland population’s decline is believed to be over grazing (4)(5)(6).
There are currently no known conservation measures in place for the white-bridled finch, but its range falls within the Southern Patagonia EBA (Endemic Bird Area) within which there are several protected areas (7).
Ridgely, R.S. and Tudor, G. (1989) The Birds of South America, Volume I: The Oscine Passerines: Jays, Swallows, Wrens, Thrushes and Allies, Vireos, Wood-warblers, Tanagers, Icterids and Finches. The University of Texas Press, Austin.
Pearman, M., Imberti, S., Mazar Barnett, J. and Henry, A. (2007) Change the English name of Melanodera melanodera from Canary-winged Finch to White-bridled Finch. Proposal (#296) to South American Classification Committee, 0. Available at: http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~remsen/SACCprop296.html
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