Sunday 19 May
White-bridled finch (Melanodera melanodera)
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White-bridled finch fact file
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White-bridled finch description
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).
- Also known as
- black-throated finch, Canary-winged finch.
- Length: 15 cm (2)
BirdLife EBA Factsheet - Southern Patagonia:
- The space between a bird's bill and eyes.
- A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
IUCN Red List (May, 2009)
- 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:
Birds of the Falkland Islands (May, 2009)
BirdLife International (May, 2009)
- Imberti, S. (2003) Notes on the distribution and natural history of some birds in Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego provinces, Patagonia, Argentina. Cotinga, 19: 15 - 24.
BirdLife International (May, 2009)
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White-bridled finch biology
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).Top
White-bridled finch rangeTop
White-bridled finch habitat
The white-bridled finch is found in dry grasslands, pasture and around settlements on the mainland, and in grass-heath communities on the Falklands (5).Top
White-bridled finch status
Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
White-bridled finch threats
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).Top
White-bridled finch conservation
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).Top
Find out more
To find out more about the Southern Patagonia EBA see:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
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